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In the Garden 



AN 15LAND OARDLN 



_^ 



ByCELIAJMAXTER 

WIT/IPICTUrS AND 
ILLUMINATIONS BY 

C/ilLDE MA65AA 



BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

hOUGMTON MirruN d.CO. 

i€he WitietsiDe press, <ffambriDoc 
MDCCCXCV 







Copyright, 1894, 
3y HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO. 

All rights reserved. 



The Riverside Press, Catnhridgc , Mass., U. S. A. 
£lectrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Company. 



R _ BOSTON COLLEGE LIBRART 

o 1 o 1007 

'****' CHESTNUT HiLL, MA 02167 



TO 

MRS. MARY HEMENWAY 

'WHOSE LARGENESS OF HEART IS EVEN AS THE 

SAND ON THE SEASHORE" 

THIS VOLUME 

IS AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED 



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i^ 




^ of Shoals, among the 

|, fit \\ ledges of the largest island, Apple- 
j| ^ ^ || dore, lies the small garden which in 
lk-zr-:;::rr-;tr!i the following pages I have endeav- 
ored to describe. Ever since I could remember 
anything, flowers have been like dear friends to 
me, comforters, inspirers, powers to uplift and to 
cheer. A lonely child, living on the lighthouse 
island ten miles away from the mainland, every 
blade of grass that sprang out of the ground, 
every humblest weed, was precious in my sight, 
and I began a little garden when not more than 
five years old. From this, year after 3^ear, the 
larger one, which has given so much pleasure to 
so many people, has grown. The first small bed 
at the lighthouse island contained only Marigolds, 
pot Marigolds, fire-colored blossoms which were 
the joy of my heart and the delight of my eyes. 
This scrap of garden, literally not more than a 



vi PREFATORY 

yard square, with its barbaric splendors of color, 
I worshiped like any Parsee. When I planted 
the dry, brown seeds I noticed how they were 
shaped, like crescents, with a fine line of orna- 
mental dots, a " beading " along the whole length 
of the centre, — from this crescent sprang the 
Marigold plant, each of whose flowers was like 

" a mimic sun, 
With ray-like florets round a disk-like face." 

In my childish mind I pondered much on this 
fact of the crescent growing into the full-rayed 
orb. Many thoughts had I of all the- flowers I 
knew; very dear were they, so that after I had 
gathered them I felt sorry, and I had a safe place 
between the rocks to which I carried them when 
they were withered, and hid them away from all 
eyes, they were so precious even then. 

The dear flowers ! Summer after summer they 
return to me, always young and fresh and beauti- 
ful; but so many of the friends who have watched 
them and loved them with me are gone, and they 
return no more. I think of the lament of Mos- 
chus for Bion : — 

" Ah me, when the Mallows wither in the gar- 
den, and the green Parsley, and the curled ten- 
drils of the Anise, on a later day they spring, in 
another year; but we men, we, the great and 
mighty, or w'ise, \vhen once we have died, in hol- 
low earth we sleep, gone down into silence." 



PREFATORY vii 

Into silence ! How deep, how unbroken is that 
silence ! But because of tender memories of lov- 
ing eyes that see them no more, my flowers are 
yet more beloved and tenderly cherished. 

Year after year the island garden has grown 
in beauty and charm, so that in response to the 
many entreaties of strangers as well as friends 
who have said to me, summer after summer, 
" Tell us how you do it ! Write a book about it 
and tell us how it is done, that we may go also 
and do likewise," I have written this book at last. 
Truly it contains the fruit of much sweet and 
bitter experience. Of what I speak I know^ and 
of what I know I have freely given. I trust it 
may help the patient gardener to a reasonable 
measure of success, and to that end I have spared 
no smallest detail that seemed to me necessary, no 
suggestion that might prove helpful. 



DUST. 

Here is a problem, a wonder for all to see. 

Look at this marvelous thing I hold in my hand ! 
This is a magic surprising, a mystery 

Strange as a miracle, harder to understand. 

What is it ? Only a handful of earth : to your touch 
A dry rough powder you trample beneath )^our feet, 

Dark and lifeless ; but think for a moment, how much 
It hides and holds that is beautiful, bitter, or sweet. 



viii PREFATORY 

Think of the glory of color ! The red of the rose, 
Green of the myriad leaves and the fields of grass, 

Yellow as bright as the sun where the daffodil blows, 
Purple where violets nod as the breezes pass. 

Think of the manifold form, of the oak and the vine. 
Nut, and fruit, and cluster, and ears of corn ; 

Of the anchored water-lily, a thing divine. 

Unfolding its dazzling snow to the kiss of morn. 

Think of the delicate perfumes borne on the gale. 
Of the golden willow catkin's odor of spring, 

Of the breath of the rich narcissus waxen-pale. 

Of the sweet pea's flight of flowers, of the nettle's sting. 

Strange that this lifeless thing gives vine, flower, tree, 
Color and shape and character, fragrance too ; 

That the timber that builds the house, the ship for the sea, 
Out of this powder its strength and its toughness drew ! 

That the cocoa among the palms should suck its milk 
From this dry dust, while dates from the self-same soil 

Summon their sweet rich fruit : that our shining silk 

The mulberry leaves should yield to the worm's slow toil. 

How should the poppy steal sleep from the very source 
That grants to the grapevine juice that can madden or 
cheer ? 

How does the weed find food for its fabric coarse 
Where the lilies proud their blossoms pure uprear ? 

Who shall compass or fathom God's thought profound ? 

We can but praise, for we may not understand ; 
But there 's no more beautiful riddle the whole world round 

Than is hid in this heap of dust I hold in my hand. 



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In the Garden Frontispiece 

Title — Poppy Petals ........ 

Headpiece to Preface — Margaret Pinks .... 

Headpiece to List of Pictures — Pansies and Rose Cam- 
pions 

Half-Title — Nasturtiums 
Headpiece — Poppy-Tops . 
From the Doorway .... 

A Shady Seat 

Headpiece — Hugelia Ccerulea 
The Garden in its Glory . 
Headpiece — Song-Sparrows 
Larkspurs and Lilies 
Hollyhocks in Late Summer . 
Headpiece — Sweet Peas 

The Bride 

Poppy Bank in the Early Morning. 

Headpiece — Tea Roses 

The Altar and Shrine 

A Favorite Corner .... 

Headpiece — Poppies going to Seed . 

Home of the Humming-bird . 

Sunset and the Pinafore . . . . . . .124 

ix 



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100 

los 

112 




AN 15LAND ^AMDl 
BY CLLIA TiWRXTCR 



WITM PAINTINGSJf BY P 

CAILDEVhAfsArV 
\ 




F all the wonderful thins^s In the won- 
derful universe of God, nothing seems 
to me more surprising than the plant- 
ing of a seed in the blank earth and 
the result thereof. Take a Poppy seed, for in- 
stance : it lies in your palm, the merest atom of 
matter, hardly visible, a speck, a pin's point in 
bulk, but within it is imprisoned a spirit of beauty 
ineffable, which will break its bonds and emerge 
from the dark ground and blossom in a splendor 
so dazzling as to baffle all powers of description. 

The Genie in the Arabian tale is not half so 
astonishing. In this tiny casket lie folded roots, 
stalks, leaves, buds, flowers, seed-vessels, — sur- 
passing color and beautiful form, all that goes to 
make up a plant which is as gigantic in propor- 
tion to the bounds that confine it as the Oak is 
to the acorn. You may watch this marvel from 
beginning to end in a few weeks' time, and if you 
realize how great a marvel it is, you can but be 

3 



4 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

lost in " wonder, love, and praise." All seeds are 
most interesting, whether winged like the Dande- 
lion and Thistle, to fly on every breeze afar ; or 
barbed to catch in the wool of cattle or the gar- 
ments of men, to be borne away and spread in all 
directions over the land ; or feathered like the 
little polished silvery shuttlecocks of the Corn- 
flower, to whirl in the wind abroad and settle 
presently, point downward, into the hospitable 
ground ; or oared like the Maple, to row out 
upon the viewless tides of the air. But if I were 
to pause on the threshold of the year to consider 
the miracles of seeds alone, I should never, I fear, 
reach my garden plot at all ! 

He who is born with a silver spoon in his 
mouth is generally considered a fortunate person, 
but his good fortune is small compared to that of 
the happy mortal who enters this w^orld with a 
passion for flowers in his soul. I use the word 
advisedly, though it seems a weighty one for the 
subject, for I do not mean a light or sTiallow affec- 
tion, or even an aesthetic admiration ; no butterfly 
interest, but a real love which is worthy of the 
name, which is capable of the dignity of sacrifice, 
great enough to bear discomfort of body and dis- 
appointment of spirit, strong enough to fight a 
thousand enemies for the thing beloved, with 
power, with judgment, with endless patience, and 
to give with everything else a subtler stimulus 
which is more delicate and perhaps more neces- 
sary than all the rest. 

Often I hear people say, " How do you make 
your plants flourish like this ? " as they admire 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 5 

the little flower patch I cultivate in summer, or 
the window gardens that bloom for me in the 
winter ; " I can never make my plants blossom 
like this ! What is your secret ? " And I answer 
with one word, " Love." For that includes all, — 
the patience that endures continual trial, the con- 
stancy that makes perseverance possible, the 
power of foregoing ease of mind and body to 
minister to the necessities of the thing beloved, 
and the subtle bond of sympathy which is as im- 
portant, if not more so, than all the rest. For 
though I cannot go so far as a witty friend of 
mine, who says that when he goes out to sit in 
the shade on his piazza, his Wistaria vine leans 
toward him and lays her head on his shoulder, I 
am fully and intensely aware that plants are con- 
scious of love and respond to it as they do to 
nothing else. You may give them all they need 
of food and drink and make the conditions of 
their existence as favorable as possible, and they 
may grow and bloom, but there is a certain in- 
effable something that will be missing if you do 
not love them, a delicate glory too spiritual to be 
caught and put into words. The Norwegians 
have a pretty and significant word, " Opelske," 
which they use in speaking of the care of flowers. 
It means literally " loving up," or cherishing them 
into health and vigor. 

Like the musician, the painter, the poet, and 
the rest, the true lover of flowers is born, not 
made. And he is born to happiness in this vale 
of tears, to a certain amount of the purest joy that 
earth can give her children, joy that is tranquil, 



6 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

innocent, uplifting, unfailing. Given a little patch 
of ground, with time to take care of it, with tools 
to work it and seeds to plant in it, he has all he 
needs, and Nature with her dews and suns and 
showers and sweet airs gives him her aid. But 
he soon learns that it is not only liberty of which 
eternal vigilance is the price ; the saying applies 
quite as truly to the culture of flowers, for the 
name of their enemies is legion, and they must 
be fought. early and late, day and night, without 
cessation. The cutworm, the wire-worm, the 
pansy-worm, the thrip, the rose-beetle, the aphis, 
the mildew, and many more, but worst of all the 
loathsome slug, a slimy, shapeless creature that 
devours every fair and exquisite thing in the gar- 
den, — the flower lover must seek all these with 
unflagging energy, and if possible exterminate 
the whole. So only may he and his precious 
flowers purchase peace. Manifold are the means 
of destruction to be employed, for almost every 
pest requires a different poison. On a closet 
shelf which I keep especially for them are rows 
of tin pepper-boxes, each containing a deadly 
powder, all carefully labeled. For the thrip that 
eats out the leaves of the Rosebush till they are 
nothing but fibrous skeletons of woody lace, there 
is hellebore, to be shaken on the under side of all 
the leaves, — mark you, the under side, and think of 
the difficulties involved in the process of so treat- 
ing hundreds of leaves ! For the blue or gray 
mildew and the orange mildew another box holds 
powdered sulphur, — this is more easily applied, 
shaken over the tops of the bushes, but all the 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 7 

leaves must be reached, none neglected at your 
peril ! Still another box contains yellow snuff 
for the green aphis, but he is almost impossible 
to manage, — let once his legions get a foothold, 
good-by to any hope for you ! Lime, salt, paris 
green, cayenne pepper, kerosene emulsion, whale- 
oil soap, the list of weapons is long indeed, with 
which one must fight the garden's foes ! And it 
must be done with such judgment, persistence, 
patience, accuracy, and watchful care! It seems 
to me the worst of all the plagues is the slug, 
the snail without a shell. He is beyond descrip- 
tion repulsive, a mass of sooty, shapeless slime, 
and he devours everything. He seems to thrive 
on all the poisons known ; salt and lime are the 
only things that have power upon him, at least 
the only things I have been able to find so far. 
But salt and lime must be used very carefully, or 
they destroy the plant as effectually as the slug 
would do. Every night, while the season is yet 
young, and the precious growths just beginning 
to make their way upward, feeling their strength, 
I go at sunset and heap along the edge of the 
flower beds air-slaked lime, or round certain most 
valuable plants a ring of the same, — the slug 
cannot cross this while it is fresh, but should it 
be left a day or two it loses its strength, it has no 
more power to burn, and the enemy may slide 
over it unharmed, leaving his track of slime. On 
many a solemn midnight have I stolen from my 
bed to visit my cherished treasures by the pale 
glimpses of the moon, that I might be quite sure 
the protecting rings were still strong enough to 



8 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

save them, for the slug eats by night, he is invisi- 
ble by day unless it rains or the sky be overcast. 
He hides under every damp board or in any nook 
of shade, because the sun is death to him. I use 
salt for his destruction in the same way as the 
lime, but it is so dangerous for the plants, I am 
always afraid of it. Neither of these things must 
be left about them when they are watered lest the 
lime or salt sink into the earth in such quantities 
as to injure the tender roots. I have little cages 
of fine wire netting which I adjust over some 
plants, carefully heaping the earth about them to 
leave no loophole through which the enemy may 
crawl, and round some of the beds, which are 
inclosed in strips of wood, boxed, to hold the 
earth in place, long shallow troughs of wood are 
nailed and filled with salt to keep off the pests. 
Nothing that human ingenuity can suggest do I 
leave untried to save my beloved flowers ! Every 
evening at sunset I pile lime and salt about my 
pets, and every morning remove it before I 
sprinkle them at sunrise. The salt dissolves of 
itself in the humid sea air and in the dew, so 
around those for whose safety I am most solici- 
tous I lay rings of pasteboard on which to heap 
it, to be certain of doing the plants no harm. 
Judge, reader, whether all this requires strength, 
patience, perseverance, hope! It is hard work 
beyond a doubt, but I do not grudge it, for great 
is my reward. Before I knew what to do to 
save my garden from the slugs, I have stood at 
evening rejoicing over rows of fresh emerald 
leaves just springing in rich lines along the beds, 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 9 

and woke in the morning to find the whole space 
stripped of any sign of green, as blank as a board 
over which a carpenter's plane has passed. 

In the thickest of my fight with the slugs some 
one said to me, " Everything living has its enemy; 
the enemy of the slug is the toad. Why don't 
you import toads ? " 

I snatched at the hope held out to me, and im- 
mediately wrote to a friend on the continent, " In 
the name of the Prophet, Toads ! " At once a 
force of only too willing boys was set about the 
work of catching every toad within reach, and 
one day in June a boat brought a box to me from 
the far-off express office. A piece of wire net- 
ting was nailed across the top, and upon the 
earth with which it was half filled, reposing 
among some dry and dusty green leaves, sat three 
dry and dusty toads, wearily gazing at nothing. 
Is this all, I thought, only three ! Hardly worth 
sending so far. Poor creatures, they looked so 
arid and wilted, I took up the hose and turned 
upon them a gentle shower of fresh cool water, 
flooding the box. I was not prepared for the 
result! The dry, baked earth heaved tumul- 
tuously ; up came dusky heads and shoulders and 
bright eyes by the dozen. A sudden concert of 
liquid sweet notes was poured out on the air from 
the whole rejoicing company. It was really beau- 
tiful to hear that musical ripple of delight. I 
surveyed them with eager interest as they sat 
singing and blinking together. " You are not 
handsome," I said, as I took a hammer and 
wrenched off the wire cover that shut them in, 



10 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

" but you will be lovely in my sight if you will 
help me to destroy mine enemy ; " and with that I 
turned the box on its side and out they skipped 
into a perfect paradise of food and shade. All 
summer I came upon them in different parts of 
the garden, waxing fatter and fatter till they were 
as round as apples. In the autumn baby toads 
no larger than my thumb nail were found hop- 
ping merrily over the whole island. There were 
sixty in that first importation ; next summer I 
received ninety more. But alas ! small dogs dis- 
cover them in the grass and delight to tear and 
worry them to death, and the rats prey upon them 
so that many perish in that w^ay ; yet I hope to keep 
enough to preserve my garden in spite of fate. 

In France the sale of toads for the protection 
of gardens is universal, and I find under the head 
of " A Garden Friend," in a current newspaper, 
the following item : — 

" One is amused, in walking through the great 
Covent Garden Market, London, to find toads 
among the commodities offered for sale. In such 
favor do these familiar reptiles stand with English 
market gardeners that they readily command a 
shilling apiece. . . . The toad has indeed no 
superior as a destroyer of noxious insects, and as 
he possesses no bad habits and is entirely inof- 
fensive himself, every owner of a garden should 
treat him with the utmost hospitality. It is quite 
worth the while not only to offer any simple in- 
ducements which suggest themselves for render- 
ing the premises attractive to him, but should he 
show a tendency to wander away from them, to 



prom the Doorwaj> 



AN ISLAND GARDEN ir 

Q-Q SO far as to exercise a grcntlc force in brinG:inor 
him back to the regions where his services may 
be of the greatest utility." 

One of the most universal pests is the cut- 
worm, a fat, naked worm of varying lengths. I 
have seen them two inches and a half long and as 
large round as my little finger. This unpleasant 
creature lives in the ground about the roots of 
plants. I have known one to go through a whole 
row of Sweet Peas and cut them off smoothly 
above the roots just as a sickle would do; there 
lay the dead stalks in melancholy line. It makes 
no difference what the plant may be, they will 
level all without distinction. The only remedy 
for this plague is to scratch all about in the earth 
round the roots of the plants where their ravages 
begin, dig the worms out, and kill them. I have 
found sometimes whole nests of them with twenty 
young ones at once. Lime dug into the soil is 
recommended to destroy them, but there is no 
remedy so sure as seeking a personal interview 
and slaying them on the spot. They are not by 
any means always to be discovered, but the gar- 
dener must again exercise that endless patience 
upon which the success of the garden depends, 
and be never weary of seeking them till they are 
found. 

Another enemy to my flowers, and a truly for- 
midable one, is my little friend the song-sparrow. 
Literally he gives the plot of ground no peace if 
I venture to put seeds into it. He obliges me to 
start almost all my seeds in boxes, to be trans- 
planted into the beds when the plants are suf- 



12 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

ficiently tough to have lost their delicacy for his 
palate and are no longer adapted to his ideal of 
a salad. All the Sweet Peas, many hundreds of 
the delicate plants, are every one grown in this 
way. When they are a foot high with roots a 
foot long they are all transplanted separately. 
Even then the little robber attacks them, and, 
though he cannot uproot, he will " yank " and 
twist the stems till he has murdered them in the 
vain hope of pulling up the remnant of a pea 
which he judges to be somewhere beneath the 
surface. Then must sticks and supports be 
draped with yards of old fishing nets to protect 
the unfortunates, and over the Mignonette, and 
even the Poppy beds and others, I must lay a 
cover of closely woven wire to keep out the 
marauder. But I love him still, though sadly he 
torments me. I have adored his fresh music ever 
since I was a child, and I only laugh as he sits 
on the fence watching me with his bright black 
eyes ; there is something quaintly comical and 
delightful about him, and he sings like a friendly 
angel. From him I can protect myself, but I 
cannot save my garden so easily from the hideous 
slug, for which I have no sentiment save only a 
fury of extermination. 

If possible, it is much the best way to begin in 
the autumn to work for the garden of the next 
spring, and the first necessity is the preparation 
of the soil. If the s^ardener is as fortunate as I 
am at the Isles of Shoals, there will be no trouble 
in doing this, for there the barn manure is heaped 
in certain waste places, out of the way, and left 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 13 

till every change of wind and weather, of temper- 
ature and climate, have so wrought upon it that 
it becomes a fine, odorless, velvet-brown earth, 
rich in all needful sustenance for almost all 
plants, — " well-rotted manure," the " Old Farm- 
er's Almanac " calls it. But if there is no mine 
of wealth such as this from which to draw, there 
are many fertilizers, sold by all seed and plant 
merchants, which will answer the purpose very 
well. I have, however, never found anything to 
equal barn manure as food for flowers, and if not 
possible to obtain this in a state fit for immediate 
use, it is best to have several cart-loads taken 
from the barn in autumn and piled in a heap near 
the garden plot, there to remain all winter, till 
rains and snows and cold and heat, all the powers 
of the elements, have worked their will upon it, 
and rendered it fit for use in the coming spring. 
Many people make a compost heap, — it is an 
excellent thing to do, — piling turf and dead 
leaves and refuse together, and leaving it to slow 
decay till it becomes a fine, rich, mellow earth. 
In my case the barn manure has been more easily 
obtained, and so I have used it always and with 
complete success, but I have a compost heap also, 
to use for plants which do not like barn manure. 
As late as possible, before the ground freezes, 
I dig up the single Dahlia tubers (there are no 
double ones in my garden), and put them in 
boxes filled with clean, dry sand, to keep in a 
frost-free cellar till spring. I find Gladiolus bulbs. 
Tulips, Lilies, and so forth, will keep perfectly well 
in the ground through the winter at the Shoals. 



14 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

Over the Foxgloves, Iceland Poppies, Wallflowers, 
Mullein Pinks, Picotees, and other perennials, I 
scatter the fine barn manure lightly, over the 
Hollyhocks more heavily, and about the Rose- 
bushes I heap it up high, quite two thirds of their 
whole height, — you cannot give them too much, 
only be careful that enough of their length, that 
is to say, one third of the highest sprays, are left 
out in the air, that they may breathe. In the 
spring this manure must all be carefully dug into 
the ground round their roots. About Honey- 
suckles, Clematis, Grapevine, and so forth, I pile it 
plentifully, mixed with wood ashes, which is espe- 
cially good for Grapevine and Rosebushes. But 
the white Lilies, and indeed Lilies generally, do 
not like to come in contact with the barn manure, 
so they are protected by leaves and boughs, and 
the earth near them enriched in the spring, care- 
fully avoiding the contact which they dislike. 
When putting the garden in order in the autumn, 
all the dry Sweet Pea vines, and dead stalks of all 
kinds, which are pulled up to clear the ground, I 
heap for shelter over the perennials, being careful 
to lay small bayberry branches over first, so that 
I may in no way interfere with a free circulation 
of air about them. In open spaces where no 
perennials are growing I scatter the manure 
thickly, that the ground may be slowly and surely 
enriched all through the winter and be ready to 
furnish bountiful nourishment for every green 
growing thing through the summer. When the 
little plot is spaded in April, all this is dug in and 
mixed thoroughly with the soil. 



AN JSLANI) (GARDEN 15 

When the snow is still blowino: ao^ainst the 
window-pane in January and February, and the 
wild winds are howling without, what pleasure it 
is to plan for summer that is to be ! Small shal- 
low wooden boxes are ready, filled with mellow 
earth (of which I am always careful to lay in a 
supply before the ground freezes in the autumn), 
sifted and made damp; into it the precious seeds 
are dropped with a loving hand. The Pansy 
seeds lie like grains of gold on the dark soil. I 
think as I look at them of the splendors of impe- 
rial purples folded within them, of their gold and 
blue and bronze, of all the myriad combinations 
of superb color in their rich velvets. Each one of 
these small golden grains means such a wealth 
of beauty and delight ! Then the thin flake-like 
brown seeds of the annual Stocks or Gillyflowers ; 
one little square of paper holds the white Princess 
Alice variety, so many thick double spikes of 
fragrant snow lie hidden in each thin dry flake ! 
Another paper holds the pale rose-color, another 
the delicate lilacs, or deep purples, or shrimp 
pinks, or vivid crimsons, — all are dropped on the 
earth, lightly covered, gently pressed down ; then 
sprinkled and set in a warm place, they are left to 
germinate. Next I come to the single Dahlia 
seeds, rough, dry, misshapen husks, that, being 
planted thus early, will blossom by the last of 
June, unfolding their large rich stars in great 
abundance till frost. They blossom in every 
variety of color except blue ; all shades of red 
from faint rose to black maroon, and all are gold- 
centred. They are every shade of yellow from 



l6 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

sulphur to flame, — king's flowers, I call them, 
stately and splendid. 

All these and many more are planted. For 
those that do not bear transplanting I prepare 
other quarters, half filling shallow boxes with 
sand, into which I set rows of egg-shells close 
together, each shell cut off at one end, with a 
hole for drainage at the bottom. These are filled 
with earth, and in them the seeds of the lovely 
yellow, white, and orange Iceland Poppies are 
sowed. By and by, when comes the happy time 
for setting them out in the garden beds, the shell 
can be broken away from the oval ball of earth that 
holds their roots without disturbing them, and 
they are transplanted almost without knowing it. 
It is curious how differently certain plants feel 
about this matter of transplanting. The more 
you move a Pansy about the better it seems to 
like it, and many annuals grow all the better for 
one transplanting; but to a Poppy it means death, 
unless it is done in some such careful way as I 
have described. 

The boxes of seeds are put in a warm, dark 
place, for they only require heat and moisture till 
they germinate. Then when the first precious 
green leaves begin to appear, what a pleasure it 
is to wait and tend on the young growths, which 
are moved carefully to some cool, sunny chamber 
window in a room where no fire is kept, for heat 
becomes the worst enemy at this stage, and they 
spindle and dwindle if not protected from it. 
When they are large enough, having attained to 
their second leaves, each must be put into a little 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 17 

pot or egg-shell by itself (all except the Poppies 
and their companions, already in egg-shells), so that 
by the time the weather is warm enough they 
will be ready to be set out, stout and strong, for 
early blooming. 

This pleasant business goes on during the win- 
ter in the picturesque old town of Portsmouth, 
New Hampshire, whither I repair in the autumn 
from the Isles of Shoals, remaining through the 
cold weather and returning to the islands on the 
first of April. My upper windows all winter are 
filled with young Wallflowers, Stocks, single 
Dahlias, Hollyhocks, Poppies, and many other 
garden plants, which are watched and tended with 
the most faithful care till the time comes for 
transporting them over the seas to Appledore. 
A small steam tug, the Pinafore, carries me and 
my household belongings over to the islands, and 
a pretty sight is the little vessel when she starts 
out from the old brown wharves and steams away 
down the beautiful Piscataqua River, with her hur- 
ricane deck awave with green leaves and flowers, 
for all the world like a May Day procession. My 
blossoming house plants go also, and there are 
Palms and Ferns and many other lovely things 
that make the small boat gay indeed. All the 
boxes of sprouted seedlings are carefully packed 
in wide square baskets to keep them steady, and 
the stout young plants hold up their strong stems 
and healthy green leaves, and take the wind and 
sun bravely as the vessel goes tossing over the 
salt waves out to sea. 

By the first of April it is time to plant Sweet 



i8 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

Peas. From this time till the second week in 
May, when one may venture to transplant into 
the garden, the boxes containing the myriads of 
seedlings must be carefully watched and tended, 
put out of doors on piazza roofs and balcony 
through the days and taken in again at night, 
solicitously protected from too hot suns and too 
rough winds, too heavy rains or too low a tem- 
perature, — they require continual care. But it is 
joy to give them all they need, and pleasure in- 
deed to watch their vigorous growth. Meanwhile 
there is much delightful work to be done in mak- 
ing the small garden plot ready. This little island 
garden of mine is so small that the amount of 
pure delight it gives in the course of a summer 
is something hardly to be credited. It lies along 
the edge of a piazza forty or fifty feet long, slop- 
ing to the south, not more than fifteen feet vv'ide, 
sheltered from the north winds and open to the 
sun. The whole piazza is thickly draped with 
vines, Hops, Honeysuckles, blue and white Clem- 
atis, Cinnamon Vine, Mina Lobata, Wistaria, 
Nasturtiums, Morning-glories, Japanese Hops, 
Woodbine, and the beautiful and picturesque 
Wild Cucumber {Echinocystus Lobata), which in 
July nearly smothers everything else and clothes 
itself in a veil of filmy white flowers in loose clus- 
ters, fragrant, but never too sweet, always refresh- 
ing and exquisite. The vines make a grateful 
green shade, doubly delightful for that there are 
no trees on my island, and the shade is most wel- 
come in the wide brilliancy of sea and sky. 

In the first week of April the ground is spaded 



A Shady Seat 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



19 



for me; after that no hands touch it save my own 
throughout the whole season. Day after day it 
is so pleasant working in the bright cool spring 
air, for as yet the New England spring is alert 
and brisk in temperature and shows very little 
softening in its moods. But by the seventh day 
of the month, as I stand pruning the Rosebushes, 
there is a flutter of glad wings, and lo ! the first 
house martins ! Beautiful creatures, with their 
white breasts and steel - blue wings, wheeling, 
chattering, and scolding at me, for they think I 
stand too near their little brown house on the 
corner of the piazza eaves, and they let me know 
their opinion by coming as near as they dare and 
snapping their beaks at me with a low guttural 
sound of displeasure. But after a few days, when 
they have found they cannot scare me and that I 
do not interfere with them, they conclude that I 
am a harmless kind of creature and endure me 
with tranquillity. Straightway they take posses- 
sion of their summer quarters and begin to build 
their cosy nest within. Oh, then the weeks of 
joyful work, the love-making, the cooing, chatter- 
ing, calling, in tones of the purest delight and 
content, the tilting against the wind on burnished 
wings, the wheeling, fluttering, coquetting, and 
caressing, the while they bring feathers and straw 
and shreds and down for their nest-weaving, — 
all this goes on till after the eggs are laid, when 
they settle down into comparative quiet. Then 
often the father bird sits and meditates happily 
in the sun upon his tiny brown chimney- top, 
while the mother bird broods below. Or they 



20 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

go out and take a dip in the air together, or sit 
conversing in pretty cadences a little space, till 
mother bird must hie indoors to the eggs she 
dare not leave longer lest they grow chill. And 
this sweet little drama is repeated all about the 
island, on sunny roofs and corners and tall posts, 
wherever a bird house has been built for their 
convenience. All through April and May I 
watch them as I go to and fro about my business, 
while they attend to theirs; we do not interfere 
with each other; they have made up their minds 
to endure me, but I adore them ! Flattered in- 
deed am I if, while I am at work upon the flower 
beds below, father martin comes and sits close to 
me on the fence rail and chatters musically, un- 
mindful of my quiet movements, quite fearless 
and at home. 

While I am busy with pleasant preparation 
and larger hope, I rejoice in the beauty of the 
pure white Snowdrops I found blossoming in their 
sunny corner when I arrived on the first of April, 
fraQ;ile wing-ed thins^s with their delicate sea-oreen 
markings and fresh, grass-like leaves. Ever since 
the first of March have they been blossoming, 
and the Crocus flowers begin, as if blown out of 
the earth, like long, lovely bubbles of gold and 
purple, or white, pure or streaked with lilac, to 
break, under the noon sun, into beautiful petals, 
showing the orange anthers like flame within. 
And the little Scilla Siberica hangs its enchant- 
ing bells out to the breeze, blue, oh, blue as the 
deep sea water at its bluest under cloudless skies. 
And later, yellow Daffodils and Jonquils, " Tulips 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 21 

dashed with fiery dew," the exquisite, mystic 
poet's Narcissus, and one crimson Peony, — my 
little fjarden has not room for more than one of 
these large plants, so early blossoming and at 
their end so soon. 

In the first week of May every year punctually 
arrive the barn swallows and the sandpipers at 
the Isles of Shoals. This seems a very common- 
place statement of a very simple fact, but would 
it were possible to convey in words the sense of 
delight with which they are welcomed on this 
sea-surrounded rock ! 

Some morning in the first of May I sit in the 
sunshine and soft air, transplanting my young 
Pansies and Gillyflowers into the garden beds, — 
father and mother martin on the fence watchinsf 
me and talking to each other in a charming lan- 
guage, the import of which is clear enough, 
though my senses are not sufficiently delicate to J 
comprehend the words. The song-sparrows pour 
out their simple, friendly lays from bush and wall 
and fence and gable peak all about me. Down 
in a hollow I hear the brimming note of the white- 
throated sparrow, — brimming is the only word 
that expresses it, — like " a beaker full of the warm 
South," — such joy, such overflowing measure of 
bliss ! There is a challenge from a robin, per- 
haps, or a bobolink sends down his "brook o' 
laughter through the air," or high and far a curlew 
calls ; there is a gentle lapping of waves from the 
full tide, for the sea is only a stone's - throw from 
my garden fence. I hear the voices of the chil- 
dren prattling not far away ; there are no other 



22 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

sounds. Suddenly from the shore comes a clear 
cry thrice repeated, " Sweet, sweet, sweet ! " And 
I call to my neighbor, my brother, working also in 
his garden plot, " The sandpiper ! Do you hear 
him ? " and the glad news goes from mouth to 
mouth, " The sandpiper has come ! " Oh, the 
lovely note again and again repeated, " Sweet, 
sweet, sweet! " echoing softly in the stillness of the 
tide-brimmed coves, where the quiet water seems 
to hush itself to listen. Never so tender a crv 
is uttered by any bird I know ; it is the most 
exquisitely beautiful, caressing tone, heard in the 
dewy silence of morning and evening. He has 
many and varied notes and calls, some collo- 
quial, some business-like, some meditative, and 
his cry of fear breaks my heart to hear when 
any evil threatens his beloved nest ; but this ten- 
der call, " Sweet, sweet," is the most enchanting 
sound, happy with a fullness of joy that never 
fails to bring a thrill to the heart that listens. It 
is like the voice of Love itself. 

Then out of the high heaven above, at once 
one hears the happy chorus of the barn swallows ; 
they come rejoicing, their swift wings cleave the 
blue, they fill the air with woven melody of grace 
and music. Till late August they remain. Like 
the martins', their note is pure joy; there is no 
coloring of sadness in any sound they make. 
The sandpipers note is pensive with all its sweet- 
ness ; there is a quality of thoughtfulness, as it 
were, in the voice of the song-sparrow ; the robin 
has many sad cadences ; in the fairy bugling of 
the oriole there is a triumphant richness, but not 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 23 

such pure delight; the blackbird's call is keen 
and sweet, but not so glad ; and the bobolink, 
when he shakes those brilliant jewels of sound 
from his bright throat, is always the prince of 
jokers, full of fun, but not so happy as comical. 
The swallows' twittering seems an expression of 
unalloyed rapture, — I should select it from the 
songs of all the birds I know as the voice of un- 
shadowed gladness. 



3^ 



~>*^— 



•s„if*"ap«=» 




nOD Almightie first planted a Garden," 
I'; H says Lord Bacon. " And indeed it is 

;i^,:r2;:-^-s;rrt~i the Purest of Humane Pleasures, it is 
the Greatest Refreshment to the Spirits of Man." 
Never were truer words spoken. 

So deeply is the gardener's instinct implanted 
in my soul, I really love the tools with which I 
work, — the iron fork, the spade, the hoe, the 
rake, the trowel, and the watering-pot are pleasant 
objects in my eyes. The ingenuity of modern 
times has invented many variations of these prim- 
itive instruments of toil, and many of them are 
most useful and helpful, as, for instance, a short, 
five-pronged hand-fork, a delightful tool to use in 
breaking up the earth about the roots of weeds. 
Some of the weeds are so wide-spreading and 
tenacious, like clover and mallow, that they seem 
to have fastened themselves around the nether 
millstone, it is so difficult to disengage their hold. 
Once loosened, however, by the friendly little 
fork, they must come up, whether they will or no. 

I like to take the hoe in my hands and break 

24 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



25 



to pieces the clods of earth left by the overturn- 
ing spade, to work into the soil the dark, velvet- 
smooth, scentless barn manure which is to furnish 
the best of food for my flowers ; it is a pleasure 
to handle the light rake, drawing it evenly through 
the soil and combing out every stick and stone 
and straw and lump, till the ground is as smooth 
and fine as meal. This done carefully and thor- 
oughly, the beds laid out neatly, with their sur- 
face level as a floor, and not heaped high enough 
to let the rains run off, — then is the ground 
ready for the sowing of the seeds. 

The very act of planting a seed in the earth 
has in it to me something beautiful. I always do 
it with a joy that is largely mixed with awe. I 
watch my garden beds after they are sown, and 
think how one of God's exquisite miracles is 
going on beneath the dark earth out of sight. I 
never forget my planted seeds. Often I wake in 
the night and think how the rains and the dews 
have reached to the dry shell and softened it; how 
the spirit of life begins to stir within, and the in- 
dividuality of the plant to assert itself ; how it is 
thrusting two hands forth from the imprisoning 
husk, one, the root, to grasp the earth, to hold 
itself firm and absorb its food, the other stretch- 
ing above to find the light, that it may drink in 
the breeze and sunshine and so climb to its full 
perfection of beauty. It is curious that the leaf 
should so love the light and the root so hate it. 
In his " Proserpina " John Ruskin discourses on 
this subject in his own inimitable way. All he 
says of this is most interesting and suggestive : 



26 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

"The first instinct of the stem, . . . the instinct 
of seeking the light, as of the root to seek dark- 
ness — what words can speak the wonder of it ? " 
If " the seed falls in the ground with the spring- 
ing germ of it downwards, with heavenly cunning 
the taught stem curls round and seeks the never 
seen light." The " taught " stem ! Who taught 
it ? What he says of the leaves and stems is very 
beautiful; every one should read it. I really do 
not know which is most wonderful of these de- 
scriptions of his, but nothing could be more strik- 
ing than this definition : " A root is a group of 
growing fibres which taste and suck what is good 
for the plant out of the ground, and by their 
united strength hold it in its place. . . . The thick 
limbs of roots do hot feed, but only the fine ends 
of them, which are something between tongues 
and sponges, and while they absorb moisture 
readily, are yet as particular about getting what 
they think nice to eat as any dainty little boy or 
girl ; looking for it everywhere, and turning 
angry and sulky if they don't get it." 

There could not be a better description than 
this, and if any seedsman would like to make his 
fortune without delay, he has only to have printed 
on every packet of seed he offers for sale the 
kind of soil, the food, required by each plant. 
For instance, why not say of Mignonette, It flour- 
ishes best in a poor and sandy soil ; so treated it 
is much more fragrant than in a rich earth, which 
causes it to run to leaves and makes its flowers 
fewer and less sweet. Or of Poppies, Plant them 
in a rich sandy loam, all except the Californias 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 27 

{Eschscholtzid), which do best in a poor soil. Or 
of Pansics, Give them the richest earth you can 
find, no end of water, and partial shade. Or, Don't 
worry over drought for your Nasturtiums ; they 
come from Chile and will live and thrive with less 
water than almost anything else that grows; 
don't trouble yourself to enrich the ground for 
them ; that makes them profuse and coarse of 
leaves and sparing of flowers ; leave them to shift 
for themselves, once having cleared them of 
weeds. No flower bears neglect so well. Or, 
Give your Zinnias a heavy soil ; they like clay. Or, 
Keep Sweet Peas as wet as you can and make the 
ground for them as rich as possible. Or, Keep 
barn manure away from your Lilies for your life ! 
they will not brook contact with it, but a rich 
soil they also like, only it must be made so by 
anything rather than stable manure, and they, 
too, like clay ; they blossom best when it is given 
them. But transport to your garden a portion of 
the very barnyard itself in which to set Roses, 
Sunflowers and Hollyhocks, Honeysuckles and 
Dahlias. Hints of this kind would be to the unac- 
customed tiller of the soil simply invaluable. How 
much they would lessen failures and discourage- 
ments ! And to learn these things by one's self 
takes half a lifetime of sad experience. 

To return to our planting. Yes, the sowing of 
a seed seems a very simple matter, but I always 
feel as if it were a sacred thing among the mys- 
teries of God. Standing by that space of blank 
and motionless ground, I think of all it holds for 
me of beauty and delight, and I am filled with 



28 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

joy at the thought that I may be the magician to 
whom power is given to summon so sweet a pa- 
geant from the silent and passive soil. I bring a 
mat from the house and kneel by the smooth bed 
of mellow brown earth, lay a narrow strip of board 
across it a few inches from one end, draw a fur- 
row firmly and evenly in the ground along the 
edge of the board, repeating this until the whole 
bed is grooved at equal distances across its entire 
length. Into these straight furrows the living 
seeds are dropped, the earth replaced over them 
(with a depth of about twice their diameter), and 
the board laid flat with gentle pressure over all 
the surface till it is perfectly smooth again. Then 
must the whole be lightly and carefully watered. 
With almost all the seeds sown in this bird- 
blest and persecuted little garden, I am obliged 
to lay newspapers or some protection over the 
planted beds, and over these again sheets of wire 
netting, to keep off the singing sparrows till the 
seeds are safely sprouted. Last year, one morn- 
ing early in May, I put a border of Mignonette 
seeds round every flower bed. When I came to 
the garden again in the afternoon, it was alive 
with flirting wings and tails and saucy beaks and 
bright eyes, and stout little legs and claws scratch- 
ing like mad ; all white-throats and song-spar- 
rows, and hardly a seed had these merry little 
marauders left in the ground. Around the edge 
of each bed a groove ran, nicely hollowed by their 
industrious feet, and empty as my hopes. I re- 
placed the seed from my store, and this time took 
great pains to lay two laths side by side over the 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



29 



lines I had sowed, for safety. Next morning I 
found the birds again at it ; they had burrowed 
under, kicked over, scratched away the light 
sticks, and again the seeds were all devoured. 
Patiently I planted once more, and this time 
dragged from a pile of lumber heavy square 
beams of different lengths, which I laid along the 
borders. The birds eyed the barricades, strove 
to burrow under, but were forced to give it up, 
and so at last I conquered. In the course of a 
week I turned over the protecting beams and 
found the little Mignonette plants white as potato 
shoots that have sprouted in a cellar, but safe, for 
which I was devoutly thankful ! A day or two 
of sun and air made them green and strong, and 
all summer long I valued every fragrant spike of 
flowers they gave me, doubly, because of all the 
trouble I had gone through to save them. I 
mention this little episode merely to illustrate the 
fact that the would-be gardener requires more 
patience than most mortals ! 

The state of the weather, the temperature of 
the air, the amount of rain which falls, make all 
the difference in the world in the time it takes 
for the first green leaves to appear. Some seeds 
take longer than others to germinate : for in- 
stance, Hollyhocks, Marigolds, ten weeks Stocks 
or Gillyflowers, Rose of Heaven, Zinnias, and many 
others come up in from three to five days if all 
circumstances are favorable, that is, if it is warm, 
moist, and sunny enough ; Asters, single Dahlias, 
Sunflowers, Cornflowers, Mignonette, Coreopsis, 
Morning-glory, Picotee Pinks, Wallflowers, Sweet 



30 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

Williams, and by far the greater number of an- 
nuals appear in from five to seven days ; Balsams, 
Pansies, Begonias, Drummond's Phlox, Poppies, 
Verbenas, Thunbergia, and many others, in from 
eight to ten days ; Columbines, Flax, Artemisia, 
Feverfew, Campanula, and so forth, in from ten to 
twelve days ; Maurandia, Forget-me-not, Petunia, 
Lantana, Nicotiana (an exquisite flower, by the 
way), in from twelve to fifteen days ; Coboea, 
Gloxinia, Primroses, Geraniums, and others, in 
from fifteen to twenty days ; Perennial Phlox, 
Clematis, Perennial Larkspurs (which are 
heavenly!), and various others, take from twenty 
to thirty-five days to germinate ; and as for Lu- 
pines and Lilies and Ampelopsis, and the like, 
they take a whole year ! But common gardeners 
don't try to raise these from seed, fortunately. 

With the first faint green lines that are visible 
along the flower beds come the weeds, yea, and 
even before them ; a wild, vigorous, straggling 
army, full of health, of strength, and a most mar- 
velous power of growth. These must be dealt 
with at once and without mercy ; they must be 
pulled up root and branch, without a moment's 
delay. There is clover that appears with a little 
circular leaf and has a root that seems to reach 
all round in the under world ; it goes everywhere 
and holds on to the earth with a grip which is 
unequaled by anything that grows. Not an atom 
of its roots must be left in the ground, for every 
thread of it will send ' up new shoots, and if not 
watched fill all the space in a few weeks. Another 
difficult weed to manage is the chickweed, which 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 31 

is SO delicate that it breaks at the sHghtest touch. 
It is a most all -pervading weed; it fills every 
space between the flowers, overruns them like a 
green mist, and will surely strangle them if left 
unmolested. Alphonse Karr, who so greatly en- 
joyed his garden, and wrote of it with so much 
pleasure, says : " The chickweed is endowed with 
a fecundity that no other plant possesses. . . . 
Seven or eight generations of chickweed cover 
the earth every year. ... It occupies the fields 
naturally, and invades our gardens ; it is almost 
impossible to destroy it." 

There is a long procession of weeds to be 
fought : pigweed, ragweed, smartweed, shepherd's 
purse, mallow, mustard, sorrel, and many more, 
which make the first crop. The second consists 
largely of quitch-grass, the very worst of all, and 
purslain or pusley, which Charles Dudley War- 
ner has immortalized in his charming book, " My 
Summer in a Garden." The roots of quitch- 
grass are as strong as steel and run rapidly in 
all directions underneath the surface, sending 
up tender shoots that break too easily when you 
touch them. The root must be found, grasped 
firmly, and followed its whole length to utter ex- 
termination, or the grass will come up like a giant, 
and later cannot be dealt with except by pulling 
up also the flowers among which it inextricably 
entangles itself. The flat, olive-green leaves and 
red fleshy stems of the pusley, running over the 
ground in a mat, next appear ; this is easily dis- 
posed of, only it continues to come up, — fresh 
plants in endless succession rise from the soil all 



32 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

summer, and must be watched and faithfully de- 
stroyed. 

There is one weed, or wild plant, dodder by 
name, which has given my island garden the 
greatest possible trouble. It is often wrongly 
called gold-thread, because it looks like a tangled 
mass of amber thread, but the true gold-thread is 
quite different. The whole plant consists of no- 
thing but these seemingly endless brittle reddish 
yellow stalks with bunches of small, dull, whitish 
flowers without stems, borne at intervals, with no 
leaves at all. It has no root in the earth, it is a 
parasite, and not at all particular as to what it 
fastens itself upon ; anything that comes in its 
way will answer its purpose. It is very pretty in 
its place, growing among the goldenrod and blue 
skullcap at the top of the rocky little coves that 
slope down to the water about the island, throw- 
ing itself from plant to plant, and making a mass 
of translucent amber color. But alas ! when it 
gets into a civilized garden, woe, woe unto that 
garden ! A handful of it in bloom was brought 
to my piazza twenty years ago, and some of it 
was accidentally thrown into the flower beds ; I 
have been fighting it ever since. I have never 
yet been able to get rid of it ! Next year I found 
my Nasturtiums, Cornflowers, Marigolds, and all 
the rest tangled together in this yellow web, a 
mass of inextricable confusion. Year after year 
I waged war against it, but even yet it is not en- 
tirely exterminated. I never allow a plant of it 
in the garden, no seeds of it ripen there, and none 
of it grows near the place outside ; not a single 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 33 

atom of it in my small domain could possibly es- 
cape my eye, and yet its seeds come up more or 
less every year ; I am sure to find one or two 
plants of it in the garden somewhere. They 
emerge from the ground, each like a fine yellow 
hair, till they are an inch and a half or two inches 
long ; they reach with might and main toward 
the nearest legitimate growing plant, and when 
they touch it cling to it like a limpet ; then they 
draw their other end up out of the ground and 
set up housekeeping for the rest of their lives. 
They adhere to the unhappy individual upon 
which they have fixed themselves with a grip that 
grows more and more horrible ; they suck all its 
juices, drink all its health and strength and 
beauty, and fling out trailers to the next and the 
next and the next, till the whole garden is a mass 
of ruin and despair. 

For many springs after the first year it ap- 
peared I used to take a glass turhbler and go all 
over the beds soon after they were laid out, pull- 
ing up these tiny yellow hairs, and in an hour or 
two I have pulled up five or six tumblers full. I 
gathered them in glasses so that I might be quite 
sure of all I plucked, and because they could not 
easily blow away out of such a receptacle. For 
wherever they might fall, if they touched a green 
growing thing they would in an astonishingly 
short space of time make themselves fast for 
good, or rather for ill ! Every year I watch for it 
with the most eager vigilance as I weed carefully 
over the whole surface of the little pleasance, 
but sometimes it steals up after all the weeding 



34 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

is done, and, before I know it, I find it has begun 
to tie the fiowers together. Then I pull up all 
the plants it has touched, lay them in a basket, 
carry them down, and cast the whole into the sea. 
It is the only way to be rid of it. I have known 
it wind its inexorable way tightly up the large 
smooth stem of a tall Sunflower, where I had not 
thought of looking for it, till there was not an 
atom of the skin of the stalk visible, only amber- 
colored dodder and its white, dull flowers from 
the great head of the blossoming Sunflower tree 
to its root. Into the sea the whole thing went, at 
once, without a moment of delay ! 

These are only a few of the weeds with which 
one must battle, though dodder, I fancy, seldom 
troubles any one on the planet as it does me. It 
takes an island garden to produce so remarkable 

a orrowth ! Most of them soon become familiar, 

^ . . . 
too familiar, indeed, and at last one learns how to 

manage them. The great mistake which the 
inexperienced gardener makes is in leaving a 
morsel of the root of a weed in the ground. Only 
by combing the earth through and through be- 
tween the rows of plants with the small hand-fork 
(after all the intruders have been removed as 
carefully as possible with the hand), can you be 
sure that they are gone. Other seeds of weeds 
will be overturned and brought to the surface in 
the process, and these will sprout in their turn, 
but by this time the flowers will have made so 
much headway that they will crowd out the new 
crop of weeds enough to insure their own safety, 
except in some few instances. Apple of Peru 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



35 



(Stramonium) is one of the most powerful and 
persistent among the enemies ; a poisonous thing 
with a loathsome odor, it must be watched for 
and routed, which fortunately is easily done. In 
its perfected growth this is the most uncanny 
plant, — a strong, low bush with bat-like leaves 
of dark green, and long, pale lavender, lily-like 
flowers, followed by a round spiked seed-vessel. 
Says Hawthorne: "What hidden virtue is in 
these things that it is granted to sow themselves 
with the wind and to grapple the earth with this 
immitigable stubbornness, and to flourish in spite 
of obstacles, and never to suffer blight beneath 
any sun or shade, but always to mock their ene- 
mies with the same wicked luxuriance } " Mrs. 
Gatty (the mother of that beautiful woman, 
Juliana Horatia Ewing, who has so discoursed on 
the subject of flowers and many other things as 
to make all time her debtor) answers the ques- 
tion, " What is a weed } " by this statement, " A 
weed is a plant out of place." A keen and close 
observer of nature says : " A better definition 
would be, ' A plant which has an innate disposi- 
tion to £-e^ into the wrong place ; ' " and goes on 
to say: "This is the very essence of weed charac- 
ter — in plants as in men. If you glance through 
your botanical books you will see often added to 
certain names, ' a troublesome weed.' It is not 
its being venomous or ugly, but its being imper- 
tinent — thrusting itself where it has no business 
and hinders other people's business — that makes 
a weed of it. . . . Who ever saw a wood anemone 
or a heath blossom out of place ? . . . What is it, 



36 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

then, this temper in some plants — malicious as 
it seems, intrusive, at all events, or erring — 
which brings them out of their places, thrusts 
them where they thwart us and offend ? " This 
seems to me the best definition of what consti- 
tutes a weed that I have seen. 

And their strength is mighty, and their name 
is legion. If there were no other enemies which 
the gardener must fight, this one of weeds alone 
is quite enough to tax all his powers and patience. 

Then the plants kill each other if they are left 
to grow as thickly together as the seeds were 
sown ; they must be " thinned out " as soon as 
they have attained to their second leaf, leaving 
two, three, four, or five inches between each two 
plants side by side. I always leave two plants 
where one would be enough, because something 
is so likely to happen to destroy them, and if 
there are two the hard fates may perhaps leave 
one. Some things require much more space 
than others. Pinks that spire up so thin and tall 
can be set closer together than Poppies, which 
spread widely in all directions. This pulling up 
and throwing away of the superfluous plants is a 
very difficult thing for me to do. I cannot bear 
to destroy one of the precious young seedlings 
that I have watched and tended with such love 
and care, but it must be done. It is a matter of 
the very greatest importance. The welfare of the 
garden depends on it. I comfort myself as best 
I may by saving all that will bear transplanting, 
and then giving them away to the flower plots of 
my fellow-gardeners on neighboring islands. 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



37 



Soon the whole plot mantles over all its sur- 
face with the rich, warm green of vigorous leaf- 
age. The new growth rejoices. That is the 
right word for it. The gladness of green growing 
things is apparent to any seeing eye. They re- 
joice with a radiant joy in sun and rain and air 
and dew, in all care and kindness. They know 
and respond to everything that is done for them. 
The low-growing Drummond's Phlox is one of 
the most satisfactory flowers for a beginner in the 
art of gardening. There is no such word as fail 
in its bright lexicon ; and it blossoms continually 
from the last of June till frost. Looking care- 
fully every day, by the last half of June I find the 
pale clustered flower buds showing; then it is 
not long to wait before the whole bed is a blaze 
of varied color, a delicate woven carpet of myriad 
vivid hues. In the lovely buds the petals are 
folded one over the other in beautiful succession. 
The flowers are five-petaled, with a faint, sweet 
perfume ; they are borne in flat clusters of an 
exquisite, velvety texture, with a clearly marked 
eye in the centre encircling the few pearl-white 
stamens ; this eye varies with the hue of each 
different flower. There will be delicious pinks 
among these Phloxes, from the palest rose to the 
deepest cherry ; all shades of red from bright, 
light scarlet, clear and pure, to a rich black red, — 
the Black Warrior. There will be all heavenly 
purples, pale lilacs, deep red purple and blue 
purple, perfect snow white : the eye in this last is 
soft green, like the touches on a Snowdrop bell. 
The scarlet flowers have a ring of black-red about 



38 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

the centre, delicately gorgeous. There are almost 
endless varieties and mixtures of color; they are 
full of surprises. The Star of Ouedlinburg is 
such a pretty, quaint change rung upon this 
pleasant theme of Phloxes. The centre of the 
outer line of each petal is drawn out at the edge 
like the tails on the under wings of the Luna 
moth. These long tails in which each petal ter- 
minates give the flower the aspect of a star with 
rays. " Ask of Nature why the star form she 
repeats," says Emerson. It is forever repeated 
among the flowers. 

At bird-peep, as the country folk have a charm- 
ing way of calling the break of day, I am in my 
dear garden, — planting and transplanting, hoeing, 
raking, weeding, watering, tying up and training 
those plants that need it, and always fighting for 
their precious lives against their legions of ene- 
m.ies. There is a time of great danger upon the 
island from the birds when they are migrating 
northward. They come suddenly down from the 
sky in myriads, on their way to the continent, 
and I have known them to strip the little plot of 
every green shoot in a single day, utterly bare. 
Nothing but fishing nets draped over the whole 
space will save the garden when these hungry 
hordes descend. But I do not lose patience with 
the birds, however sorely they try me. I love 
them too well. How should they know that the 
garden was not planted for them } Those be- 
longing to the thrush tribe are the most mis- 
chievous; the others do not disturb the flower 
beds so much. The friendly robin, though a 



The Garde)! in ib Gloiy 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



39 



thrush, only comes for worms, to which he is 
more than welcome. Most of the other birds — 
bobolinks, kingbirds, orioles, purple finches, and 
many other beautiful creatures less familiar — 
stay with us for a short time only, on their pas- 
sage north or south every year ; but a single pair 
of kingbirds build every summer in the one tall 
elm-tree on the island, where also builds a cosy 
nuthatch and raises a numerous family, and one 
pair of most interesting kingfishers haunts the 
upper cove till late in the season. A Maryland 
yellow-throat began building here last summer. 
For several years one pair of cuckoos lingered 
through the summer, but at last ceased to come. 
A few blackbirds build, the white-throats stay 
late, but several varieties of swallows, the song- 
sparrows, and sandpipers remain and rear their 
broods. How we wish the robins would stay too, 
and the orioles and all the sweet company ! But 
there are no trees to shelter them. Their coming 
and going, however, is a matter of the greatest 
interest to the little family on the island, and we 
are thrown into a state of the deepest excitement 
by the apparition of a scarlet tanager, or a rose- 
breasted grosbeak, or any of those unfamiliar 
beauties. Once a ferruginous thrush came and 
stayed a week with us in early June. Every day 
when he perched on a ridge-pole or chimney-top 
and sang, the whole family turned out in a body 
to listen, making a business of it, attending to no- 
thing else while that thrilling melody was poured 
out on the silent air. That was a gift of the gods 
which we could, none of us, afford to neglect ! 



40 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

Says the wise Lord Bacon again : " And be- 
cause the Breath of Flowers is far sweeter in the 
Aire (when it comes and goes, Hke the Warbling 
of Music) than in the hand, therefore nothing is 
more fit for that delight than to know what be 
the Flowers and Plants that doe best perfume the 
Aire." 

The most exquisite perfume known to my gar- 
den is that of the Wallflowers ; there is nothing 
equal to it. They blossom early, and generally 
before June has passed they are gone, and have 
left me mourning their too swift departure. I 
wonder they are not more generally cultivated, 
but I fancy the fact that they do not blossom till 
the second year has much to do with their rarity. 
It requires so much more faith and patience to 
wait a whole year, and meanwhile carefully watch 
and tend the plants, excepting during the time 
when winter covers them with a blanket of snow ; 
but when at last spring comes and the tardy 
flowers appear, then one is a thousand times re- 
paid for all the tedious months of waiting. They 
return such wealth of bloom and fras^rance for 
the care and thought bestowed on them ! Their 
thick spikes of velvet blossoms are in all shades 
of rich red, from scarlet to the darkest brown, 
from light gold to orange ; some are purple ; and 
their odor, — who shall describe it! Violets, 
Roses, Lilies, Sweet Peas, Mignonette, and Helio- 
trope, with a dash of Honeysuckle, all mingled 
in a heavenly whole. There is no perfume which 
I know that can equal it. And they are so lavish 
of their scent ; it is borne off the garden and 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 41 

wafted everywhere, into the house and here and 
there in all directions, in viewless clouds on the 
gentle air. To make a perfect success of Wall- 
flowers they must be given lime in some form 
about the roots. They thrive marvelously if fed 
with a mixture of old plastering in the soil, or 
bone meal, or, if that is not at hand, the meat 
bones from the kitchen, calcined in the oven and 
pounded into bits, stirred in around the roots is 
fine for them. This treatment makes all the dif- 
ference in the world in their strength and beauty. 
After the Wallflowers, Roses and Lilies, Mignon- 
ette, Pinks, Gillyflowers, Sweet Peas, and the 
Honeysuckles for fragrance, and of these last, the 
monthly Honeysuckle is the most divine. Such 
vigor of growth I have never seen in any other 
plant, and it is hardy even without the least pro- 
tection in our northern climate. It climbs the 
trellis on my piazza and spreads its superb clus- 
ters of flowers from time to time all summer. 
Each cluster is a triumph of beauty, flat in the 
centre and curving out to the blossoming edge in 
joyous lines of loveliness, most like a wreath of 
heavenly trumpets breathing melodies of perfume 
to the air. Each trumpet of lustrous white 
deepens to a yellower tint in the centre where the 
small ends meet ; each blossom where it opens at 
the lip is tipped with fresh pink ; each sends out 
a group of long stamens from its slender throat 
like rays of light : and the whole circle of radiant 
flowers has an effect of gladness and glory inde- 
scribable : the very sight of it lifts and refreshes 
the human heart. And for its odor, it is like the 



42 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

spirit of romance, sweet as youth's tender dreams. 
It is summer's very soul. 

This beautiful vine will grow anywhere, for any- 
body, only give it half a chance, such is its match- 
less vigor. I wonder why it is not found in every 
garden ; nothing so well repays the slightest care. 

Next in power come the Sweet Peas, blossoming 
the livelong summer in all lovely tints save only 
yellow, and even that the kind called Primrose 
approaches, with its faint gold suffusion of both 
inner and outer petals. I plant them by myriads 
in my tiny garden — all it will hold. Transplant, 
I should say, because of my friends the birds, who 
never leave me one if I dare plant them out of 
doors. But this transplanting is most delightful. 
I thoroughly enjoy digging with the hoe a long 
trench six inches deep for the strong young seed- 
lings, lifting them from the boxes, carefully disen- 
tangling their long white roots each from the other 
as I take them out, and placing them in a close 
row the whole length of the deep furrow, letting 
the roots drop their whole length, with no curling 
or crowding, then half filling the hollow with 
water, drawing the earth about the roots and 
firming the whole with strong and gentle touch. 
They do not droop a single leaf so transplanted ; 
they go on growing as if nothing had happened, 
if only they are given all the water they need. 
Already they stretch out their delicate tendrils to 
climb, and I love to give them for support the 
sticks with which the farmers supply their pea 
vines for the market; but on my island are no 
woods, so I am thankful for humble bayberry and 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 43 

elder branches for the purpose. It is another 
pleasure to go afar among the rocks for these and 
wheel them to the flower beds in a light wheel- 
barrow, which is one of the most useful things 
one can possess for work about the garden. At 
once the vines lay hold of the slender sticks and 
climb to the very top, fain are they to go much 
farther. But I cut the tops so that they may 
branch from the sides and keep within bounds, 
and they soon make a solid hedge of healthy 
green. Oh, when the blossoms break from these 
green hedges like heavenly winged angels, and 
their pure, cool perfume fills the air, what joy is 
mine ! 

I find Sweet Peas can hardly have too rich a 
soil, provided always that they are kept sufficiently 
wet. They must have moisture, their roots must 
be kept cool and damp, — a mulch of leaves or 
straw is a very good thing to keep the roots from 
drying, — and they must always be planted as deep 
as possible. Wood ashes give them a stronger 
growth. Their colors, the great variety of them, 
and their vivid delicacy are wonderful ; they are 
most beautiful against the background of the sea; 
they are a continual source of delight, and never 
cease to bloom, with me, if gathered every day and 
watered abundantly, the whole summer long, even 
through the autumn till November. But they 
must never be suffered to go to seed ; that would 
check their blossoming at once. I revel in their 
beauty week after week, bringing them into the 
house and arranging them in masses every other 
day. Clear glass vases are most effective for 



44 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

them, and they look loveliest, I think, when each 
color is kept by itself. For the Princess Beatrice, 
which is a divine pale pink, a shade of rose re- 
fined and exquisite, there are glasses of clear pink 
that repeat the hues of the flowers with magical 
gradations and reflections. For the white kinds 
there are white vases, the most effective of ground 
glass, the opaque surface of which matches the 
tone of the flowers. 

Of the named kinds of Sweet Peas the most 
beautiful shades of pink that I know are the 
divinely delicate Princess Beatrice, the palest 
rose-color; Adonis, a deeper pink, very clear 
and rich ; the Orange Prince, a most ineffably 
splendid color of bright yellow-rose; these together 
make a combination of color that satisfies the in- 
most soul. Carmine Invincible is the most 
splendid red ; the Butterfly is white edged with 
mauve, and combined with the delicate rose 
Princess Beatrice makes a delicious harmony. 
Blanche Ferry is also a lovely rose. Queen Vic- 
toria is the best white I have known ; but every 
year new varieties are found which seem more and 
more beautiful, and it is only by trying them that 
one finds which to depend on. 

Of the worth of these I have mentioned I am 
sure ; they are the strongest growers, the freest 
bloomers, and the most beautiful of their kind. 
They never disappoint you if you give them the 
right care. The list of flowers in my island gar- 
den is by no means long, but I could discourse of 
them forever! They are mostly the old-fashioned 
flowers our grandmothers loved. Beginning with 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 4$ 

Snowdrops, Crocuses, Daffodils, Narcissus, a few 
Hyacinths, Scillas, an English Primrose or two, 
Tulips, and several other early blooming plants, 
one big red Peony, Columbine, Ragged Robin, 
Cornflowers, Roses and Lilies, Larkspurs, Pinks 
and GiHyflowers, Sweet Williams, Wallflowers, 
Forget-me-nots, single Dahlias, Sunflowers of 
every kind, and Hollyhocks of all colors. Poppies 
in almost endless variety. Nasturtiums of all hues, 
pot Marigolds, summer Chrysanthemums in great 
variety. Rose Campion, or Rose of Heaven, Pan- 
sies. Phlox, Sweet Peas, and Mignonette, Crimson 
Flax and the tall blue Perennial Flax (a wonder- 
ful blue!), many kinds of Coreopsis, — all most 
valuable and decorative, — Asters, Honeysuckle 
and Clematis, Morning-glories, Lavender and Fox- 
gloves, Candytuft, Verbenas, Thunbergia, Pent- 
stemon, the heaven-blue Ipomea, white Petunias, 
— because they are so beautiful by moonlight, — 
a few F'our-o'clocks, and so forth. These are 
enough for a most happy little garden. A few 
more modern plants are added, a golden and a 
rosy Lily from Japan, a lustrous vAiite gold- 
hearted Anemone from the same country, for au- 
tumn blooming, one or two tuberous-rooted Bego- 
nias, some Gaillardias and Zinnias, the fragrant 
little Asperula (Woodruff), and some others. 
Among the new plants one of the most interest- 
ing is the Hugelia Coerulea, which grows a foot 
and a half high, with a many-branched woolly 
leaf, and flowers in flat clusters of the most deli- 
cious light blue. This is a flower with an atmos- 
phere ; it has a quality of beauty quite indescri- 
bable. 




igjiis-r COPY the notes of a few days' work 

In the garden in May, just to give an idea of their 

character and of the variety of occupation in this 

small space of ground. 

May II. This morning at four o'clock the 

sky was one rich red blush in the east, over a sea 

as calm as a mirror. How could I wait for the 

sun to lift its scarlet rim above the dim sea-line 

(though it rose punctually at forty-seven minutes 

past four), when my precious flow^er beds were 

waiting for me ! It was not possible, and I was 

up and dressed before he had flooded the earth 

with glory. " Straight was a path of gold for 

him," I said, as I gazed out at the long line of 

liquid splendor along the ocean. All the boxes 

and baskets of the more delicate seedlings were 

to be put out from my chamber window on flat 

house-top and balcony, they and the forest of 

Sweet Peas to be thoroughly watered, and the 

Pansies half shaded with paper lest the sun 

should work them woe. At five the household 

was stirring, there was time to write a letter or 

two, then came breakfast before six, and by half 

past six I was out of doors at work in the vast 

46 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 47 

circle of motionless silence, for the sea was too 
calm for me to hear even its breathing. It was 
so beautiful, — the dewy quiet, the freshness, the 
long, still shadows, the matchless, delicate, sweet 
charm of the newly wakened world. Such a 
color as the grass had taken on during the last 
few warm days; and where the early shadows lay 
long across it, such indescribable richness of 
tone ! There was so much for me to do, I hardly 
knew where to begin. At the east of the house 
the bed of Pansies set out yesterday was bright 
with promise, every little plant holding itself 
gladly erect I began with the trellis each side of 
the steps leading down into the garden, and first 
set out a Coboea Scandens, one to the right and 
one to the left, — strong, sturdy plants which I 
had been keeping weeks in the house till it should 
be warm enough to trust them out of doors. 
They were a foot high and stretching their sensi- 
tive tendrils in all directions, seeking something 
for support. They grasped the trellis at once 
and seemed to spread out every leaf to the warm 
sun, while I poured cool water and liquid manure 
about their roots, and congratulated them on their 
escape into the open ground. Near them, against 
the same trellis, I put down two Tropgeolum Lob- 
bianum Lucifers, a new scarlet variety of these 
delicate Nasturtiums, that they might climb to- 
gether over the broad arch. Some time ago I had 
planted there also some Mexican Morning-glories 
sent me by an unknown friend, and if they come 
up, and Coboea, Nasturtiums, and Morning-glories 
all climb together and clasp hands with Honey- 



48 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

suckle, Wistaria, and Wild Cucumber, my porch 
will, indeed, be a bower of beauty ! Then against 
wall and fence I set out the stout bushes of single 
Dahlias which have been growing ever since last 
January. A new variety called Star of Lyons in- 
terests me. I am anxious to know what it is like, 
what its color, what its shape. It is such a pleas- 
ure always to be finding new varieties and com- 
binations, fresh surprises in unfamiliar flowers. 
Seeking the smallest posy bed I own, into this I 
transplanted another stranger, Papaver Alpinum 
Roseum, a rose-colored Iceland Poppy. How I 
shall watch it grow, and how eagerly wait for it 
to blossom! Eight egg-shells full of it were set 
down and carefully watered. Next, a row of 
baby Wallflowers were established in a long line 
near the tall ones that are thick with buds. I 
am going to try to have a succession of bloom 
from these, if it can be accomplished, all summer. 
In another bed I began to set out a few of the 
choicest Sweet Peas, the new kinds; these were 
already a foot long from tip to root ends. I have 
no words to tell what pleasant work this is ! 
After the Sweet Peas were comfortably settled, I 
covered the whole bed with a lenorth of liofht 
mosquito net, pegging it at the corners, laying 
sticks and stones along the edges to hold it down, 
so that the saucy sparrows should find no loop- 
hole by which to wriggle inside, they having 
watched the whole process with interested eyes 
from their perch on the fence-rail. How beauti- 
ful it was to be sitting there in the sweet weather, 
working in the wholesome brown earth! Just be- 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



49 



yond the Sweet Peas I could see my strong white 
LiHes springing up, a foot high already, with the 
splendid hardy Larkspurs behind them, prom- 
ising a wealth of white and gold and azure by 
and by. From time to time through the calm 
morning, as I labored thus peacefully, I heard the 
loons laughing loud and clear in the stillness, 
and by lifting my head could see them off the 
end of the wharf at the landing swimming to and 
fro with their bright reflections, catching no end 
of fish and having the most delightful time, — 
every now and then half raising themselves from 
the water and flapping their wings, showing the 
dazzling white with which the strong pinions 
were lined, and laughing again and again with a 
wild and eerie sound. This means that a storm 
is coming, I know. But I love to hear them, and 
how devoutly thankful I am that there is not a 
creature with a gun on this blessed island ! The 
loons know it well, or they never would venture 
in so near, while they shout to the morning their 
wild cries. 

Near me, where I had made the earth so very 
wet, suddenly fluttered down a ruddy-breasted 
barn swallow, the beauty! for on such heavenly 
terms are we that he did not mind me in the 
least as he gathered a tiny load of mud for his 
nest against the rafters in the barn, and flew away 
with it low on the wind. The barn swallows do 
not visit my small inclosure as often as do my 
nearer neighbors, the white-breasted martins. 

All this time the lovely day was slowly chang- 
ing its early delicate colors and freshness for the 



50 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

whiter light of noon. By twelve o'clock the wind 
had " hauled " from west to south, going round 
through the east, and sending millions of light 
ripples across the glassy water, deepening its 
color to sparkling sapphire, and at last the sun 
overhead seemed to pelt quicksilver in floods 
upon it, and then it was dinner-time. After an 
hour of rest again I took up my work. All 
about, here and there and everywhere, I dug up 
the scattered Echinocystus vines and set them 
against the house, so that they could run up the 
trellises on all sides to make grateful shade by 
and by. A few straying Primroses waited to be 
moved outside the fence, — they take up so much 
room within, and room is so precious inside the 
garden. Young plants of the charming, old-fash- 
ioned Sweet Rocket had to be collected from the 
nooks where they had sown themselves far and 
near, and set in clumps in corners. Then there 
was a box of white Forget-me-nots some one had 
sent me, to be established in their places, and I 
finished the afternoon by planting Shirley Pop- 
pies all up and down the large bank at the south- 
west of the garden, outside. I am always planting 
Shirley Poppies somewhere ! One never can 
have enough of them, and by putting them into 
the ground at intervals of a week, later and later, 
one can secure a succession of bloom and keep 
them for a much longer time, — keep, indeed, their 
heavenly beauty to enjoy the livelong summer, — 
whereas, if they are all planted at once you would 
see them for a blissful moment, a week or ten 
days at most, and then they are gone. I have 



Larkspurs and Lilies 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



51 



planted and am going to continue planting till 
the middle of June, in this year of grace 1893, ^^ 
less than two whole ounces of Shirley Poppies in 
all, and when one reflects that the seeds are so 
small as to be hardly more than visible to the 
naked eye, one realizes this to be a great many. 

May 12th. Again a radiant day. I watched 
the thin white half ring of the waning moon as it 
stole up the east through the May haze at dawn. 
This kind of haze belongs especially to this 
month ; it is such an exquisite color, like ashes 
of roses, till the sun suffuses it with a burning 
blush before he leaps alive from the ocean's rim. 
Again in the garden at a little after six, to find 
the sparrows busy tunneling up and down the 
bank, devouring the Poppies that I planted yes- 
terday. How they can see the seeds at all, or 
why they should care to feast on anything so 
small, or why they do not all perish, as poor 
Pillicoddy proposed doing, from the effects of 
such doses of opium, passes my understanding. 
There was nothing to be done but to plant them 
all over and then trail through the dewy grass 
long boards to lay up and down, covering the 
bank, for protection. 

First, there were the small Tea Rosebushes to 
be set out in their sunny bed, made rich with 
finely sifted manure and soot and a sprinkling 
of wood ashes. And here let me say that all 
through the spring, beginning when the hardy 
Damask and Jacqueminots, etc., are just unfold- 
ing their leaf buds, it is a most excellent plan to 
sift wood ashes quite thickly over all the Rose- 



52 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

bushes, either just after a shower or after you 
have been sprinkHng them ; let it remain on 
them for several hours, — if the sun is not shining 
I leave it half a day, — but then it must all be 
carefully washed off, every trace of it, or it will 
spoil the leaves. This kills or discourages all 
sorts of insect pests, and the effect of the ashes 
on the soil about their roots is most beneficial to 
the Roses. 

As I sat in measureless content by the httle 
flower bed, carefully slipping my pretty Bon 
Silenes and Catherine Mermets and yellow Sun- 
sets and the rest out of their pots, and gently 
firming them in the ground, with plenty of water 
for refreshment, a cloud of the most delicious 
perfume brooded about me from a bed of white 
violets at the left, the hardiest, faithfulest, friend- 
liest little flowers in the world. I found two 
small Polyantha Roses had lived all winter in this 
sheltered bed ; that was indeed a charming find ! 
At the back of it grows a tall Jacqueminot, a 
black Tuscany Rose, and the strong white Rosa 
Rugosa, a Japanese variety which bears very 
large single flowers in the greatest profusion. 
This Rose is extremely valuable, easily obtained, 
so hardy as to be almost indestructible, and abso- 
lutely untroubled by any disease or insect plague 
whatever. Its foliage is always fresh and hand- 
some, and its seed vessels are huge scarlet balls 
as large as an average Crab-Apple, most ornamen- 
tal after the flowers are gone. But the old, old 
black Tuscany Rose is the most precious of all. 
Mine came from an ancient garden that vanished 



AN ISLAND G/VRDEN 53 

long ago, but which used to be a glory to the 
town in which it grew. It is a hardy Rose also, 
in color so darkly red as to be almost black, — a 
warm red, less crimson than scarlet, Q-lowin2[ with 
a kind of smouldering splendor, with only two 
rows of petals round a centre of richest gold. 
At the end of this bed is a Water Hyacinth float- 
ing in its tub, and near it, in another tub, a large 
pink Water Lily, kept over from last summer in 
a frost-proof cellar, is sending up the loveliest 
leaves, touched with so sweet a crimson as to be 
almost as delightful as the blossoms themselves. 
All the rest of this day was spent in transplanting 
Asters from boxes into the beds all over the gar- 
den, edging nearly every bed with them, so that 
when the fleeting glory of Poppies and other ear- 
lier annuals is gone there will still be beautiful, 
color to gladden our eyes late in the summer, 
quite into the autumn days. 

In the afternoon I had all the many boxes of 
Sweet Peas brought to the piazza to be ready for 
transplanting, but remembering the sparrows, I 
covered each box carefully with mosquito netting 
before leaving them for the night. 

14th. Sunday. A storm of wild wind and 
flooding rain, the storm the loons predicted ! At 
breakfast my gardening brother said, " Well, my 
sweet peas are all gone ! " " Oh," I cried in 
the greatest sympathy, " what has happened to 
them } " for he had planted six pounds or more, 
and they had come up finely. " Sparrows," was 
his laconic reply. I flew to my boxes on the 
piazza : they were safe, only through a tiny crack 



54 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

in the net over one a bird had wriggled its little 
body, and pulled up and flung the plants to right 
and left all over the steps. But my brother's long 
rows, so green last night, were bare except for 
broken stems and withering leaves. Alas, it is so 
much trouble to cover such a large area with net- 
ting, he thought this time he would trust to luck, 
or Providence, or whatever one chooses to call it, 
but it is a fatal thing to do. Now he has to 
plant all over again, even though I shall share my 
boxes with him, and it will make his garden very 
late indeed. This time he will not fail to put 
nets over all ! I sat on the piazza sheltered from 
the rain and watched the birds. Unmindful of 
the tempest, they skipped gayly round the garden, 
over and round the steps, examined all the tucked 
up boxes of Sweet Peas, wished they could get in, 
but finding it out of the question gave it up and 
resigned themselves to the inevitable. To and 
fro, here and there they went, peering into every 
nook and corner, behind every leaf and stick and 
board and stalk, busily pecking away and devour- 
ing something with the greatest industry. I 
drew nearer to discover what it could be, and to 
my great joy found it was the slugs which the 
rain had called forth from their hiding-places ; 
the birds were working the most comprehensive 
slaughter among them. At that pleasing sight 
I forgave them on the spot all their trespasses 
against me. 

15th. A thick fog wrapped the world in dim- 
ness early this morning ; at eight o'clock it was 
rolling off and piling itself in glorious headlands 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



55 



over the coast, gleaming snow white in the sun, 
but here and there thin silver strips lay across 
distant sails and islands, lingering as if loath to 
leave the earth for the sky. I took the baskets 
of plants I had found necessary to dig up to give 
the rest room, and paddled across to the next 
island in a little lapstreaked dory, to give them 
to my neighbors for their flower plots. Great is 
the pleasure in the giving and the taking. It was 
such a heavenly morning, so blue and calm after 
the tumult of yesterday! Along the far-off coast 
the joyous hills seemed laughing in the sunshine, 
and the great sea rippled all over with smiles. 

From the low shores of the islands came the 
singing of the birds over the still water, with an 
indescribably quiet and peaceful effect, and as I 
rowed into the cove of my destination, passing 
the coasts of the little island called Malaga, I saw 
outlined against the sky the lovely grasses al- 
ready blossoming among the rocks. A kingbird 
sat on a bowlder and meditated ; there was no tree, 
so he was fain to be content with a rock to sit on. 
I passed him almost near enough to touch him 
with my oar, but he did not stir, not he ! My 
errand done and the plants distributed, I hastened 
back to my own dear little plot again, and up and 
down all the paths I went, digging out every 
unwelcome root of grass, plantain, mallow, cat- 
nip, clover, and the rest, once more raking them 
clear and clean. Outside, in a bed by itself, I 
sunk four pots of repotted Chrysanthemums, to 
be ready for the windows in early winter. All 
along the piazza are the house plants waiting to 



56 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

be attended to, cut back, repotted, and the soil 
enriched for winter blooming. Every day I at- 
tend to them, a few at a time. I cannot spare 
much time from my planting, weeding, watering, 
transplanting, and so forth, in the garden, but 
soon they will be all done. Began to transplant a 
few of the hundreds of the main body of Sweet 
Pea plants into the ground, carefully covering each 
bed as I finished with breadths of light mosquito 
netting to make them sparrow-proof. As I was 
working busily I heard the sweet calling of cur- 
lews, and looking up saw six of them wheeling 
overhead. Such sociable birds ! They replied to 
my challenge as if I had been one of themselves, 
and as long as their calls were answered, lingered 
near, but being forgotten presently drifted off on 
the wind, their clear whistle -sounding fainter and 
fainter as they were lost in the distance. All the 
rest of this day was spent in setting out Sweet 
Peas, and it will take more than a whole day more 
to finish, for I put them all round against the 
fence outside, and into every space I can spare 
for them within. After tea I hunted slugs as 
usual, and scattered ashes and lime, but I really 
feel that my friends the toads have done me the 
inestimable favor of reducing their hideous num- 
bers, for certainly there are less than last year so 
far. Early in April, as I was vigorously hoeing 
in a corner, I unearthed a huge toad, to my per- 
fect delight and satisfaction ; he had lived all 
winter, he had doubtless fed on slugs all the 
autumn. I could have kissed him on the spotl 
Very carefully I placed him in the middle of a 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



57 



large green clump of tender Columbine. He 
really was n't more than half awake, after his long 
winter hap, but he was alive and well, and when 
later I went to look after him, lo ! he had crept 
off, perhaps to snuggle into the earth once more 
for another nap, till the sun should have a little 
more power. 

To our great joy the frogs that we imported 
last year are also alive. We heard the soft rippling 
of their voices with the utmost pleasure ; it is a 
lovely liquid-sweet sound. They have not lived 
over a winter here before. We feared that the 
vicinity of so much salt water might be injurious 
to them, but this year they have survived, and 
perhaps they may be established for good. 

May 2oth. All the past days have been filled 
with transplanting and the most vigorous weed- 
ing. In these five days the Sweet Peas have 
grown so tall I was obliged to go after sticks for 
them to-day, wheeling my light wheelbarrow up 
over the hill and across the island toward the 
south, where among the old ruined walls of cel- 
lars and houses, and little, almost erased garden 
plots, the thick growth of Bayberry and Elder 
offered me all the sticks I needed. Such a charm- 
ins: business was this ! So beautiful the narrow 
road all the way, bordered by the lovely Shad- 
bush in bridal white, the delicate red Cherry with 
flowers so like Hawthorn as to be frequently mis- 
taken for it, the pink Chokecherry, the common 
Wild Cherry (which seems to attract to itself most 
of the caterpillars in the land), all blossoming for 
dear life, and among thickets of Blackberry, Rasp- 



58 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

berry, Gooseberry, Wild Currant, Wlnterberry, 
Spirea, and I know not what, such crowds of flow- 
ers ! The last of the gay golden Erythroniums, the 
Dogtooth Violets, dancing in the breeze ; the large, 
softly colored Anemones, now nearing their end ; 
the banks of pearly Eyebrights ; the white Violets, 
lowly and fragrant; the straw-colored Uvularia; 
the ivory spikes of Solomon's Seal, just breaking 
into bloom, with its companion, the starry Trien- 
talis ; the tufts of Fern in cool clefts of rocks; — of 
these I gathered several clumps for my fernery in 
the shade of the piazza. It would take too long 
to tell of all the flowers I saw, but one more I 
must mention. At the upper edge of a little cove 
at the southwest, where the old settlement of more 
than a hundred years ago was thickest, the earth 
was blue with the pretty Gill-go-over-the-ground, 
its charming blossoms covering the green turf and 
cropping out among the loose stones, — a dear, 
quaint little flower in two shades of blue marked 
with rich red-purple. It was too early for the 
Pimpernel to be in bloom, but the pink Herb 
Robert was out, the smallest of all the Geranium 
family, and I saw ranks of Goldenrod more than a 
foot high getting ready for autumn. To tell all I 
saw and all I loved and rejoiced in would take a 
whole day. Oh, the green and brown and golden 
mosses, the lovely, lowly growths along the way, 
and oh, the birds that sang and the waves that 
leaped and murmured along the shore ! The 
sweet sky and the soft clouds, the far sails, the 
full joy of the summer morning, who shall tell 
it ? I was so happy trundling home my barrow 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



59 



load of sticks piled to toppling, and finally tip- 
ping it up at the garden gate ! It took tlic whole 
afternoon to stick the Peas, and I enjoyed every 
moment of it. Before putting the dry brittle 
branches in the ground, with a small, light hoe I 
went all over and through the earth about the 
Sweet Peas, uprooting chickweed and clover, pig- 
weed and dogfennel, till there was not a weed to 
be seen near them. When night fell I had only 
just finished this pleasant work. 

2ist. Weeding all day in the hot sun; hard 
work, but pleasant. I find it the best way to lay 
two boards down near the plot I have to weed, 
and on them spread a waterproof, or piece of car- 
pet, and kneeling or half reclining on this, get my 
face as close to my work as possible. Sitting flat 
on these boards, I weed all within my reach, then 
roll up a bit of carpet not bigger than a flat-iron 
holder, put it at the edge of the space I have 
cleared, and lean my elbow on it ; that gives me 
another arm's-length that I can reach over, and 
so I go on till all is done. I move the rest for my 
elbow here and there as needed among the flow- 
ers. It takes me longer to weed than most peo- 
ple, because I will do it so thoroughly. It is 
such a pleasure and satisfaction to clear the beau- 
tiful brown earth, smooth and soft, from these 
rough growths, leaving the beautiful green Pop- 
pies and Larkspurs and Pinks and Asters, and 
the rest, in undisturbed possession ! Now come 
the potent heats that preface summer, and every- 
thing grows and expands so fast, the process of 
thinning the crowded plants must begin forth- 



6o AN ISLAND GARDEN 

with. Oh, for days twice as long ! Yet these 
approach the longest days of the year. 

22d. Another glorious day of heat; the sun 
fairly drove me into the shade to work among the 
house plants on the piazza. Hot, hot, and bright, 
and outside the garden growing things begin to 
pine for showers. When the sun declined toward 
the west in the afternoon, I sat in the shade and 
from the veranda turned the hose with its fine 
sprinkler all over the garden. Oh, the joy of it ! 
The delicious scents from earth and leaves, the 
glitter of drops on the young green, the grati- 
tude of all the plants at the refreshing bath and 
draught of water ! The rich red Wallflowers sent 
up fresh clouds of incense, the brilliant and deli- 
cate Iceland Poppies bowed their lovely heads and 
swayed with pleasure at the bright shower. But 
rain is greatly needed, searching rain which shall 
drench the ground and reach the roots, and give 
new life to everything. 

23d. Again hot, still, and splendid. Spent all 
the morning hammering stakes down into the 
beds near Hollyhocks, Sunflowers, Larkspurs, 
Lilies, Roses, single Dahlias, and all the tall grow- 
ing things. Many were tall enough to fasten to 
the stakes, — all will be, presently. One enormous 
red Hollyhock grew thirteen feet high by actual 
measurement before it stopped last year, in a 
corner near the piazza. Oh, but he was superb ! 
At night the lights from one window streamed 
through a leafy arch of clambering vine, and illu- 
mined him as he swayed to and fro in the wind, a 
stately column of beauty and grace. A black-red 



Hollyhocks in Late Summer 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 6i 

comrade leaned against him and mingled its rich 
blossoms with his brighter color, and near him 
were rose, pink, and cherry, and white spikes of 
bloom, lovely to behold. 

All the afternoon weeding and thinning out 
the plants. The large bank sloping to the south- 
west outside the garden is a perfect mass of flow- 
ers to be, — no weeds, for I have conquered them; 
but it is next to impossible to pull up plants 
enough to give all room. Again and again I 
have thinned them; now I think I must leave 
them to their fate and let it be a case of survival 
of the fittest. 

24th. Last night, after having given myself the 
pleasure of watering the garden, 1 could not sleep 
for anxiety about the slugs. I seldom water the 
flowers at night because the moisture calls them 
out, and they have an orgy feasting on my most 
precious children all night long. Before going 
to bed I went all over the inclosure and, alas, I 
found them swarming on the Sweet Peas ; baby 
slugs, tiny creatures covering the tender leaves 
and the dry pea-sticks even, thick as grains of 
sand. I was in despair, and though I knew they 
did not mind ashes, I took the fine sifter and 
covered Peas, sticks, slugs, and all with a thick, 
smothering cloud of wood ashes. Then I left 
them with many misgivings and went to bed, but 
not to sleep, for thinking of them. At twelve 
o'clock I said to myself. You know the slugs don't 
care a rap for all the ashes in the world, but the 
friendly toads may be kept away by them, and 
who knows if such a smother of them may not 



62 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

kill the precious Peas themselves ? I could not 
bear it any longer, rose up and donned my dress- 
ing gown, and out into the dark and dew I bore 
the hose, over my shoulders coiled, to the very 
farthest corners of the garden, and washed off 
every atom of ashes in the black midnight, and 
came back and slept in peace. 

These are most anxious times on account of 
the slugs. Now, every morning when I rise I 
go at once into the garden at four o'clock and 
make a business of slaughtering them till half 
past five, when I stop for breakfast. If the 
day is pleasant they are all hidden by that time, 
for they dread so the touch of the sun. But in 
the hoary morning dew they delight. This is the 
hardest part of my gardening, and I rejoice that 
not one person in a thousand has this plague of 
slugs to fight. It is so difficult to destroy them ; 
to see their countless legions and feel so helpless 
before their numbers, to find one's most precious 
favorites nibbled and ragged, and everything 
threatened with destruction is a trial indeed. I 
carry a large pepper-box filled with air-slaked lime 
and shake it over them everywhere. They are so 
small this year that it destroys them ; they turn 
milky and miserably perish, but the next morn- 
ing there are just as many more to take their 
places. Still I patiently persevere, carefully 
washing off the lime, so anxious lest it should 
harm the plants, and killing by hand all the larger 
monsters. 

In that most charming old book, Gilbert 
White's " Natural History of Selborne," I find he 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 63 

speaks of these arch enemies of mine as " un- 
noticed myriads of small shell-less snails called 
slugs, which silently and imperceptibly make 
amazing havoc in field and garden ; " adding in a 
note, " Farmer Young of Norton Farm says that 
this spring (1777) about four acres of his wheat 
in one field were entirely destroyed by the sl-ugs, 
which swarmed on the blades of corn and devoured 
it as fast as it sprung." 

Poor Farmer Young ! I deeply sympathize 
with him and his long buried trouble ! 

Again White says : " The shell-less snails called 
slugs are in motion all winter in mild weather and 
commit great depredations on garden plants, and 
much injure the green wheat." 

There was a happy time when such a thing as 
a slug was unknown on my island, and I well re- 
member, the first that were brought here among 
some Moonflowers that were imported from a dis- 
tant green-house. I saw them adhering to the 
outside of the flower-pots and did not kill them, 
never dreaming what powers of evil they would 
become ! 

25th. Every day the garden grows more inter- 
esting, more fascinating. Buds full of promise 
show themselves on the single Dahlias whose 
seeds were only planted in February ; on the Rose 
Campions, the perennial kind, on the tall w4iite 
Lilies. The Hollyhocks are thick with buds, and 
rich spikes head all the boughs of the Larkspurs, 
and as for the Roses, they are simply wonderful. 
The Tea Roses are loaded with buds ; on one of 
the Polyanthas that lived all winter in the ground 



64 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

I counted fifty-two, and it is a tiny bush not more 
than a foot high. The dear old Sweet Rocket is 
blossoming in every corner, sending up its grate- 
ful perfume. Now come days of great anxiety 
about the Margaret Carnations that I have so 
loved and watched and tended since the first of 
March. They were splendid plants, full of health 
and strength and all ready to bloom. Alas, I saw, a 
day or two ago, the leaves turning yellow. I knew 
too well what that meant. There was but one 
thing to do. Down on my knees I went this morn- 
ing, and bringing my face close to the ground, 
began pulling apart the central shoot in each plant, 
where the sickly color hung its flag of distress for 
a signal. Down, down a cruel length, into the 
very heart and core of each precious stem I tore 
my reluctant way to find that abomination of 
which I was in search, namely, a short fat lively 
white worm ; for him I probed and brought him 
up on the point of a pin, and having a small 
quantity of alcohol at hand for the purpose, 
dropped him into it forthwith, for instant and com- 
plete destruction. Over forty of these beasts did 
I destroy, and left the tattered Pinks to rest and 
recover, if they could, poor things, after such a 
terrible experience ! These worms seem made 
for all fragrant Pinks ; as far as my experience 
goes they never attack anything else. How in the 
world, I wonder, do they know where the Carna- 
tions are planted and when to come for them? 
Such a scene of devastation as is my pretty bed 
of Pinks of which I was so proud, dwarfed and 
yellow, with their gnawed-off leaves strewn about 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 65 

all over the ground ! But they will put out side 
shoots and patiently strive to fulfill heaven's in- 
tent for them, of which they are conscious from 
the least root-tip to the end of every battered leaf. 
There is something pathetic as well as wonderful 
in the way in which these growing things of al- 
most all kinds meet disaster and discouragement. 
Should they suffer misfortune like this, — the lop- 
ping of a limb, or the losing of buds, or any sap- 
ping of their vitality, — if the cause is removed, 
they will try so hard to repair damages, send out 
new shoots, make strenuous efforts to recover the 
lost ground, and still perfect blossom and fruit as 
nature meant they should. There is a lesson to 
be learned of them on which I have often pon- 
dered. 

June 3d. This has been an exciting day, for the 
Water Lilies I sent for a week ago came in a mys- 
terious damp box across the ocean foam ! I had 
made their tubs all ready for them, putting in the 
bottom of each the " well-rotted manure," and over 
this rich earth and sand mixed in proper propor- 
tions. These tubs, or rather large, tall butter firkins, 
stood ready in their places along the sunniest and 
most sheltered bed in the garden. Oh, the pleas- 
ure of opening that box and finding each unfa- 
miliar treasure packed so carefully in wet moss, 
each folded in oiled paper to keep it moist, and 
each labeled with its fascinating name ! The great 
pink Lotus of Egypt, the purple Lily of Zanzi- 
bar, and the red one of the same sort, the golden 
Chromatella, the pure white African variety and 
the smaller native white one, the yellow Water 



66 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

Poppy and the little exquisite plant called Parrot's 
Feather, that creeps all about over the water and 
has the wonderful living, metallic green of the 
plumage of the handsome green parrots. These, 
with the flourishing Water Hyacinth I already 
had growing in its tub on the steps, and the bright 
pink Cape Cod Lily, make ten tubs of water plants, 
— a most breathlessly interesting family ! And 
I must not forget another tub of seedling Water- 
Lilies that I am watching with the most intense 
interest also. It took most of the long, happy 
day to plant all these in the rich wet mud and 
settle them in their comfortable quarters. I laid 
some horseshoes I had picked up at different 
times, and saved, round the roots to hold them 
down temporarily, while I gently flooded the tubs 
with water and rejoiced to see the lovely leaves 
float out on the surface fresh as if they were at 
home. Then I sifted clean beach sand over the 
earth about them, to the depth of an inch or more, 
to hold the soil down and keep the water clear, 
and all was done. What delight to look forward 
to the watching and tending of these new friends ! 
I find myself wondering what enemy will attack 
these, for surely something has been made for 
their destruction, which I must fight ! There is 
not a growing thing in the garden that has not its 
enemies and destroyers, fortunate if it has only 
one. Just at this time there is a rampant little 
snuff-colored spider which comes in from the 
grass and fastens upon tender growths in the bor- 
ders about the house, covering the succulent 
leaves and stems of Wild Cucumbers and Morn- 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 6/ 

ing-glories, and even Nasturtiums and Cornflow- 
ers, so thickly that the plant is not to be seen at 
all for them ; they are like a brown glove over 
every leaf, and they suck every drop of sap out of 
the plant, leaving it perfectly white. They are 
fatal on the Sweet Peas, of which they are espe- 
cially fond. No poison known to me has the 
slightest effect on them ; nothing but water turned 
on with the hose in floods disturbs them. This 
washes them away for the time being. It has to 
be repeated, however, many times a day, for they 
recover from their drenching and return to their 
work of devastation with renewed vigor. Fortu- 
nately these do not, like the slugs, last forever; 
they are gone in, less than six weeks; but they 
keep me busy indeed while they stay. 

I am obliged to spend a good deal of time just 
now hunting and destroying different bugs and 
worms and so forth. The blue-green aphis ap- 
pears on certain precious Honeysuckle buds, and 
must be vigorously syringed with fir-tree oil before 
he gets a foothold and spreads his hideous legions 
everywhere. Also the lively worm that ties the 
Rose leaves together and gobbles them up and 
hides in a web within them, that I may find and 
crush him ; and the white thrip which calls for 
hellebore, on the under side of them, and many 
more, must be attended to before they wax strong 
and bold in their villainy and defy me. A curious 
plague, if I may call it so, has come upon the little 
garden, in the shape of the delicious edible mush- 
rooms, Coprinus Comatus, which come up all over 
the place and with slow strength heave the 



6S AN ISLAND GARDEN 

ground and my flowers into heaps, thrusting 
handsome long ivory-white, umbrella-shaped heads 
on stems a foot long, up high above and over 
most things in the beds. But these are eaten as 
soon as they appear, and are not such a very 
great trial, though I would rather they left my 
dear flowers undisturbed. 




UCH thought should be given to 
the garden's arrangement with regard 
to economy of room, where one has 
Dut a small space to devote to it. And where 
one is unfamiliar with the habits of growth of the 
various plants that are to people it, a difficulty 
arises in making them effective and so dispos- 
ing them that they shall not interfere with each 
other. For instance, in most cases tall plants 
should be put back against walls and fences and 
so forth, with the low^er-growing varieties in the 
foreground. If one were to plant Verbenas and 
Venidium among Sunflowers and Hollyhocks, or 
even among Carnation Poppies and Cornflowers, 
Verbenas and Venidium would not be visible, for 
their habit is to creep close to the ground, and 
the tall growths would completely hide and most 
likely exterminate them, by shutting from them 
the sun and air without which they cannot live. 
These low, creeping plants are, however, very 
useful when one is planning for a succession of 

69 



70 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

flowers. I plant Pansies, Verbenas, Drummond's 
Phlox, and so forth, among my Pinks and Wall- 
flowers and others of like compact habit, so that, 
when the higher slender plants have done blos- 
soming, the others, which seldom cease flowering 
till frost, may still clothe the ground with color 
and beauty. Of course it goes without saying 
that climbing Vines should not be set where there 
is nothing upon which they may climb. Indeed 
that would be simple cruelty — nothing more nor 
less. Everything that needs it should be given 
a support without fail — all the myriad lovely 
Vines that one may have with so little trouble, and 
which seem to have been made to wreathe the 
dwellings of men with freshness and beauty and 
grace. The long list of varieties of flowering Clem- 
atis, so many shapes and colors, the numerous 
Hone3^suckles, the Wistaria, Passion - flowers, 
Morning-glories, Hops, the Dutchman's Pipe, the 
Coboeas, Woodbine, and many others, not count- 
ing Sweet Peas and Nasturtiums, — these last 
among the most beautiful and decorative of all, — 
every one is twice as valuable if given the support 
it demands. In the case of Nasturtiums, how- 
ever, which seem with endless good-nature ready 
to adapt themselves to any conditions of exist- 
ence, except, perhaps, being expected to live in a 
swamp, it is not so important that they should 
have something upon which to climb. A very 
good way is to put them near a rock one wishes to 
have covered, or to let them run down a bank upon 
which nothing else cares to grow. They will 
clothe such places with wild and beautiful luxuri- 
ance of green leaves and glowing flowers. 



AN ISLAND GARDEN yi 

It seems strange to write a book about a little 
garden only fifty feet long by fifteen wide ! But 
then, as a friend pleasantly remarked to me, " it 
extends upward," and what it lacks in area is more 
than compensated by the large joy that grows out 
of it and its uplifting and refreshment of " the 
Spirit of Man." 

I have made a plan of this minute domain to 
show how it may be possible to accomplish much 
within such narrow compass, and also to give an 
idea of an advantageous method of grouping in 
a space so confined. I have not room to experi- 
ment with rockworks and ribbon-borders and the 
like, nor should I do it even if I had all the room 
in the world. For mine is just a little old-fash- 
ioned orarden where the flowers come tos^ether to 
praise the Lord and teach all who look upon them 
to do likewise. 

All through the months of April and May, 
when the weather is not simply impossible, I am 
at work in it, and also through most of June. It 
is wonderful how much work one can find to do 
in so tiny a plot of ground. But in the latter 
weeks of June there comes a time when I can 
begin to take breath and rest a little from these 
difiicult yet pleasant labors ; an interval when I 
may take time to consider, a morning when I may 
seek the hammock in the shady piazza, and, look- 
ing across my happy flower beds, let the sweet' 
day sink deep into my heart. From the flower 
beds I look over the island slopes to the sea, and 
realize it all, — the rapture of grow^th, the deli- 
cious shades of green that clothe the ground, Wild 



72 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

Rose, Bayberry, Spirea, Shadbush, Elder, and 
many more. How beautiful they are, these grassy, 
rocky slopes shelving gradually to the sea, with 
here and there a mass of tall, blossoming grass 
softly swaying in the warm wind against the 
peaceful, pale blue water ! Among the grass a few 
ghostly dandelion tops yet linger, with now and 
then a belated golden flower. How lovely is the 
delicacy of the white bleached rocks, the little 
spaces of shallow soil exquisite with vivid crimson 
Sorrel, or pearly with the brave Eyebright, all 
against the soft color of the sea. What harmony 
of movement in all these radiant growths just 
stirred by the gentle air! Here and there a stout 
little bough of Chokecherry, with clustered white 
blossoms tipped with pink, springing from a cleft 
in the rock, lights up in sunshine, its pink more 
glowing for the turquoise background of the 
ocean. How hot the sun blazes ! The Blue-eyed 
Grass is quite faint and drooping in the rich turf, 
but the yellow Crowfoot shines strong and steady; 
no sunshine is too bright for it. In the garden 
the tall Jacqueminot Rosebushes gather power 
from the great warmth and light, and hold out 
their thick buds to absorb it and fold its splendor 
in their inmost hearts. One or two of the heavi- 
est buds begin to loosen their crimson velvet pet- 
als and shed their delicious perfume on the air. 
The Oriental Poppy glories in the heat. Among 
its buds, thrust upward like solid green apples, one 
has burst into burning flame, each of its broad 
fiery petals as large as the whole inside of my 
hand. In the Iceland Poppy bed the ardent light 





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AN ISLAND GARDEN jt, 

has wooed a graceful company of drooping buds 
to blow, and their cups of delicate fire, orange and 
yellow, sway lightly on stems as slender as grass. 
In sheltered corners the Forget-me-not spreads its 
cool, heaven-blue clusters; by the fence "the Lark- 
spurs listen " while they wait ; the large purple 
Pansies shrink and turn from the too brilliant gaze 
of the sun. Rose Campions, Tea Roses, Mignon- 
ette, Marigolds, Coreopsis, the rows of Sweet Peas, 
the broad-leaved Hollyhocks and the rest, rejoice 
and grow visibly with every moment of the glori- 
ous day. Clematis and Honeysuckle almost seem 
to hurry, Nasturtiums reach their shield-like leaves 
and, wind the stems thereof round any and every 
stick and string they can touch by which to lift 
themselves, here and there showing their first 
glowing flowers, and climbing eagerly. The long 
large buds of the white Clematis, the earliest of 
all, are swelling visibly before my eyes, and the 
buds of the early June Honeysuckle are reddening 
at the end of every spray. In one corner a tall 
purple Columbine hangs its myriad clustered 
bells ; each flower has six shell-like whorls set in a 
circle, colored like rich amethysts and lined with 
lustrous silver, white as frost. Cornflowers like 
living sparks of exquisite color, rose and azure, 
white and purple, twinkle all over the place, and 
the heavenly procession begins in good earnest. 
The Grapevine smooths out its young leaves, — 
they are woolly and crimson ; the wind blows and 
shows me their grayish-white under surfaces. I 
think of Browning's tender song, the verse, — 



74 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

" The leaf buds on the vine are woolly, 
I noticed that to-day, 
One day more bursts them open fully, 
You know the red turns gray." 

The Echinocystus plants that have sprung in 
thick ranks along the edge of the beds against 
the piazza are fairly storming up the trellis, hav- 
ing sown themselves in the autumn ; they have 
just really begun to take firm hold, and are climb- 
ing hand over hand, as sailors do, with their strong 
green tendrils stretching out like arms and hands 
to right and left, laying hold of every available 
thing by which to cling and spring upward to the 
very eaves. There in August they form a closely 
woven curtain of lush, light green, overhung with 
large, loose clusters of starry white flowers having 
a pure, delicious fragrance like honey and the 
wax of the comb. 

Now come the most perfect days of the year, 
blue days, hot on the continent, but heavenly here, 
where the cool breeze breathes round the islands 
from the great expanse of whispering water. De- 
lightful it is to lie here and rest and realize all 
this beauty and rejoice in all its joy ! The dis- 
tant coast-line is dim in soft mirage. 

" Half lost in the liquid azure bloom of a crescent of sea. 
The silent, sapphire-spangled, marriage-ring of the land." 

It lies so lovely, far away! At its edge the 
water is glassy calm, the houses and large, glim- 
mering piles of buildings along its whole length 
show white in the hot haze ; in the offing the far- 
off sails are half lost in this shimmering veil ; 



The Bride 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 75 

farther out there is a soft wind blowing; h'ttle 
fishing-boats with their sails furled lie at anchor 
between us and the land, faintly outlined against 
the delicate tone of the water. All is so still ! I 
hear a bee go blundering into the Bachelor's But- 
tons that hold up their flowers to the sun like 
small, compact yellow Roses. Suddenly comes a 
gush of the song-sparrow's music, but father mar- 
tin sits at his door very quiet ; it is too hot on the 
red roof of his little house, so he sits at its portal 
and meditates while his small wife broods within, 
only now and then from his pretty throat jDOurs a 
low ripple of sound, melodiously content. I am 
conscious of the sandpiper calling and the full tide 
murmuring, and I, too, am content. 

Outside the garden fence it is as if the flowers 
had broken their bounds and were rushing down 
the sloping bank in a torrent of yellow, where the 
early Artemisias and Eschscholtzias are hastening 
into bloom, overflowing in a flood of gold that, 
lightly stirred by every breeze, sends a satin shim- 
mer to the sun. Eschscholtzia — it is an ugly name 
for a most lovely flower. California Poppy is 
much better. Down into the sweet plot I go and 
gather a few of these, bringing them to my little 
table and sitting down before them the better to 
admire and adore their beauty. In the slender 
green glass in which I put them they stand 
clothed in their delicate splendor. One blossom 
I take in a loving hand the more closely to examine 
it, and it breathes a glory of color into sense and 
spirit which is enough to kindle the dullest imagi- 
nation. The stems and fine thread-like leaves are 



76 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

smooth and cool gray-green, as if to temper the 
fire of the blossoms, which are smooth also, un- 
like almost all other Poppies, that are crumpled 
past endurance in their close green buds, and 
make one feel as if they could not wait to break 
out of the calyx and loosen their petals to the 
sun, to be soothed into even tranquillity of beauty 
by the touches of the air. Every cool gray-green 
leaf is tipped with a tiny line of red, every flower- 
bud wears a little pale-green pointed cap like an 
elf, and in the early morning, when the bud is 
ready to blow, it pushes off the pretty cap and un- 
folds all its loveliness to the sun. Nothing could 
be more picturesque than this fairy cap, and no- 
thing more charming than to watch the blossom 
push it off and spread its yellow petals, slowly 
rounding to the perfect cup. As I hold the flower 
in my hand and think of trying to describe it, I 
realize how poor a creature I am, how impotent 
are words in the presence of such perfection. It 
is held upright upon a straight and polished 
stem, its petals curving upward and outward into 
the cup of light, pure gold with a lustrous satin 
sheen ; a rich orange is painted on the gold, drawn 
in infinitely fine lines to a point in the centre of 
the edge of each petal, so that the effect is that 
of a diamond of flame in a cup of gold. It is not 
enough that the powdery anthers are orange bor- 
dered with gold ; they are whirled about the very 
heart of the flower like a revolving Catherine- 
wheel of fire. In the centre of the anthers is a 
shining point of warm sea-green, a last, consum- 
mate touch which makes the beauty of the bios- 



AN ISLAND GARDEN yj 

som supreme. Another has the orange suffused 
through the gold evenly, almost to the outer 
edges of the petals, which are left in bright, light 
yellow with a dazzling effect. Turning the flower 
and looking at it from the outside, it has no calyx, 
but the petals spring from a simple pale-green 
disk, which must needs be edged with sea-shell 
pink for the glory of God ! The fresh splendor 
of this flower no tongue nor pen nor brush of 
mortal man can fitly represent. 

Who indeed shall adequately describe any one, 
the simplest even, of these radiant beings ? Day 
after day, as I watch them appear, one variety 
after another, in such endless changes of delicate 
beauty, I can but marvel ever more and more at 
the exhaustless power of the great Inventor. 
Must He not enjoy the work of His hands, the 
manifold perfection of these His matchless crea- 
tions ? Who can behold the unfolding of each 
new spring and all its blossoms without feeling 
the renewal of " God's ancient rapture," of which 
Browning speaks in " Paracelsus " ? In that im- 
mortal rapture, I, another of his creatures, less 
obedient in fulfilling His laws of beauty than are 
these lovely beings, do humbly share, reflecting it 
with all the powers of my spirit and rejoicing in 
His work with an exceeding joy. 

As the days go on toward July, the earth be- 
comes dry and all the flowers begin to thirst for 
moisture. Then from the hillside, some warm, 
still evening, the sweet rain-song of the robin 
echoes clear, and next day we wake to a dim 
morning ; soft flecks of cloud bar the sun's way, 



78 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

fleecy vapors steal across the sky, the southwest 
wind blows lightly, rippling the water into little 
waves that murmur melodiously as they kiss the 
shore. In this warm gray, brooding light I am 
reminded of Tennyson's subtle description of 
such a daybreak : — 

" When the first low matin chirp hath grown 
Full quire, and morning driven her plough of pearl 
• Far furrowing into light the mounded rack, 
Beyond the fair green field and eastern sea." 

Through the early hours of the day the mottled, 
pearly clouds keep their shape, with delicious 
open spaces of tempered blue between ; by and 
by the sky's tender fleece is half shadowed, to- 
ward noon it melts into loose mists. Color every- 
where tells against these pellucid grays, — the 
gold of Lemon Lilies, the flame of Iceland Poppies, 
all the sweet tints of every blossom. Presently 
the happy rain begins to fall, so soft, so warm, so 
peaceful, the very sound of it is a pleasure ; every 
leaf in the patient garden, which has waited for 
the shower so long, spreads itself wide to catch 
each crystal drop and treasure its deep refreshment. 
All day it rains ; at night the melody lulls us to 
sleep as it patters on the roof. In the night the 
wind changes, and next day brings a northeast 
storm again with a wild wind, but from this the 
little flower plot is well protected, and I rejoice in 
the thorough watering deep down among their 
roots which is doing all the plants unmeasured 
good. Two, perhaps three days, it lasts, the gale 
blowing till there is such contention of winds and 
waves about the little isle as to make a ceaseless 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 79 

roarinG: of wild breakers round its shores. When 
at last the tempest wears itself out, what delight 
there is in the great tranquillity that follows it, 
what music in the soft, far murmurs of ceasing 
strife in air and ocean, spent wrath that seems to 
breathe yet in an undertone, half sullen, half re- 
lenting, while the broad yellow light that lies over 
sea and rocks in stillness, like a quiet smile, 
promises a heavenly day on the morrow. 

Then, with what fresh wealth of color and per- 
fume the garden will meet the resplendent sun- 
rise ! Every moment it grows more and more 
beautiful. I think for wondrous variety, for cer- 
tain picturesque qualities, for color and form 
and a subtle mystery of character, Poppies seem, 
on the whole, the most satisfactory flowers among 
the annuals. There is absolutely no limit to their 
variety of color. They are the tenderest lilac, the 
deepest crimson, richest scarlet, white with softest 
suffusion of rose ; all shades of rose, clear light 
pink with sea-green centre, the anthers in a golden 
halo about it ; black and fire-color ; red that is 
deepened to black, with gray reflections ; cherry- 
color, with a cross of creamy white at the bottom 
of the cup, and round its central altar of ineffable 
golden green again the halo of yellow anthers ; 
purple, with rich splashes of a deeper shade of the 
same color, with grayish white rays about the 
centre; all shades of lavender and lilac; exqui- 
site smoke-color, in some cases delicately touched 
and freaked with red ; some pure light gray, 
some of these gray ones edged with crimson or 
scarlet ; there are all tints of mauve. To tell all 



8o AN ISLAND GARDEN 

the combinations of their wonderful hues, or even 
half, would be quite impossible, from the simple 
transparent scarlet bell of the wild Poppy to the 
marvelous pure white, the wonder of which no 
tongue can tell. Oh, these white Poppies, some 
with petals more delicate than the finest tissue 
paper, with centres of bright gold, some of thicker 
quality, large, shell-like petals, almost ribbed in 
their effect, their green knob in the middle like a 
boss upon a shield, rayed about with beautiful 
grayish yellow stamens, as in the kind called the 
Bride. Others — they call this kind the Snowdrift 
— have thick double flowers, deeply cut and fringed 
at the edges, the most opaque white, and full of 
exquisite shadows. Then there are the Iceland- 
ers, which Lieutenant Peary found making gay 
the frosty fields of Greenland, in buttercup-yel- 
low and orange and white ; the great Orientals, 
gorgeous beyond expression ; the immense single 
white California variety. I could not begin to 
name them all in the longest summer's day ! The 
Thorn Poppy, Argemone, is a fascinating variety, 
most quaint in method of growth and most dec- 
orative. As for the Shirleys, they are children 
of the dawn, and inherit all its delicate, vivid, 
delicious suffusions of rose-color in every con- 
ceivable shade. Of the Poppy one of the great 
masters of English prose discourses in this wise. 
Speaking of the common wild Poppy of the Eng- 
lish fields, which grows broadcast also over most 
of Europe, he says : " The splendor of it is proud, 
almost insolently so," which immediately brings to 
mind Browning's lines in " Sordello," — 



Poppv Bank in the Earlv Morning 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 8l 

" The Poppy's red effrontery, 
Till autumn spoils its fleering quite with rain, 
And portionless, a dry, brown, rattling crane 
Protrudes." 

Papaver Rhoeas is the common wild scarlet Poppy 
that both these writers describe. John Ruskin 
says : " I have in my hand a small red Poppy 
which I gathered on Whit Sunday in the palace 
of the Caesars. It is an intensely simple, in- 
tensely floral flower. All silk and flame, a scarlet 
cup, perfect edged all round, seen among the wild 
grass far away like a burning coal fallen from 
Heaven's altars. You cannot have a more com- 
plete, a more stainless type of flower absolute ; in- 
side and outside, all flower. No sparing of color 
anywhere, no outside coarsenesses, no interior 
secrecies, open as the sunshine that creates it; 
fine finished on both sides, down to the extremest 
point of insertion on its narrow stalk, and robed 
in the purple of the Caesars. . . . 

" Literally so. That Poppy scarlet, so far as 
could be painted by mortal hand, for mortal king, 
stays yet, against the sun and wind and rain, on 
the walls of the house of Augustus, a hundred 
yards from the spot where I gathered the weed 
of its desolation. . . . The flower in my hand is 
a poverty stricken Poppy, I was going to write, 
poverty strengthened Poppy, I mean. On richer 
ground it would have gushed into flaunting 
breadth of untenable purple; flapped its incon- 
sistent scarlet vaguely to the wind ; dropped the 
pride of its petals over my hand in an hour after I 
gathered it. But this little rough-bred thing . . . 



82 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

is as bright and strong to-day as yesterday. . . . 
What outHne its petals really have is little shown 
in their crumpled fluttering, but that very crum- 
pling arises from a fine floral character which 
we do not enough value in them. We usually 
think of a Poppy as a coarse flower ; but it is the 
most transparent and delicate of all the blossoms 
of the field. The rest, nearly all of them, de- 
pend on the texture of their surfaces for color. 
But the Poppy is painted glass ; it never glows 
so brightly as when the sun shines through it. 
Wherever it is seen, against the light or with the 
light, always it is a flame, and warms the wind 
like a blown ruby. . . . Gather a green Poppy 
bud, just when it shows the scarlet line at its side, 
break it open and unpack the Poppy. The whole 
flower is there complete in size and color, its 
stamens full grown, but all packed so closely that 
the fine silk of the petals is crushed into a million 
of wrinkles. When the flower opens, it seems a 
relief from torture ; the two imprisoning green 
leaves are shaken to the ground, the aggrieved 
corolla smooths itself in the sun and comforts it- 
self as best it can, but remains crushed and hurt 
to the end of its days." 

I know of no flower that has so many charm- 
ing tricks and manners, none with a method of 
growth more picturesque and fascinating. The 
stalks often take a curve, a twist from some cur- 
rent of air or some impediment, and the fine 
stems will turn and bend in all sorts of graceful 
ways, but the bud is always held erect when the 
time comes for it to blossom. Ruskin quotes 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 83 

Lindley's definition of what constitutes a Poppy, 
which he thinks " might stand." This is it : "A 
Poppy is a flower which has either four or six 
petals, and two or more treasuries united in one, 
containing a milky, stupefying fluid in its stalks 
and leaves, and always throwing away its calyx 
when it blossoms." 

I muse over their seed-pods, those supremely 
graceful urns that are wrought with such match- 
less elegance of shape, and think what strange 
power they hold within. Sleep is there, and 
Death his brother, imprisoned in those mystic 
sealed cups. There is a hint of their mystery in 
their shape of sombre beauty, but never a sug- 
gestion in the fluttering blossom ; it is the gayest 
flower that blows. In the more delicate varieties 
the stalks are so slender, yet so strong, like fine 
grass stems, when you examine them you won- 
der how they hold even the light weight of the 
flower so firmly and proudly erect. They are 
clothed with the finest of fine hairs up and down 
the stalks, and over the green calyx, especially 
in the Iceland varieties, where these hairs are of 
a lovely red-brown color and add much to their 
beauty. 

It is plain to see, as one gazes over the Poppy 
beds on some sweet evening at sunset, what buds 
will bloom in the joy of next morning's first 
sunbeams, for these will be lifting themselves 
heavenward, slowly and silently, but surely. To 
stand by the beds at sunrise and see the flowers 
awake is a heavenly delight. As the first long, 
low rays of the sun strike the buds, you know 



84 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

they feel the signal ! A light air stirs among 
them ; you lift your eyes, perhaps to look at a 
rosy cloud or follow the flight of a caroling bird, 
and when you look back again, lo ! the calyx has 
fallen from the largest bud and lies on the 
ground, two half transparent, light green shells, 
leaving the flower petals wrinkled in a thousand 
folds, just released from their close pressure. A 
moment more and they are unclosing before your 
eyes. They flutter out on the gentle breeze like 
silken banners to the sun, and such a color ! 
The orange of the Iceland Poppy is the most 
ineffable color ; it " warms the wind " indeed ! I 
know no tint like it; it is orange dashed with 
carmine, most like the reddest coals of an in- 
tensely burning fire. Look at this exquisite 
cup : the wind has blown nearly smooth the 
crinkled petals ; these, where they meet in the 
centre, melt into a delicate greenish yellow. In 
the heart of the blossom rises a round green 
altar, its sides penciled with nine black lines, 
and a nine-rayed star of yellow velvet clasps the 
flat, pure green top. From the base of this altar 
springs the wreath of stamens and anthers; the 
inner circle of these is generally white, the outer 
yellow, and all held high and clear within the 
cup. The radiant effect of this arrangement 
against the living red cannot be told. 

The Californias put out their clean, polished, 
pointed buds straight up to the sun from the 
first, but all the others have this fashion of droop- 
ing theirs till the evening before they blow. 
There is a kind of triumph in the way they do 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 85 

this, lifting their treasured splendor yet safe 
within its clasping calyx to be ready to meet tlie 
first beams of the day. 

The Orientals are glorious, even in the vic- 
torious family of Poppies. Ruskin has a chapter 
on " The Rending of Leaves." I always think of 
it when I see the large, hairy, rich green leaves 
of this variety, which are deeply " rent," almost 
the whole width of the leaf to the midrib. These 
leaves grow somewhat after the fashion of a Dan- 
delion, spreading several feet in all directions 
from the centre, which sends up in June immense 
flower-stalks crowned with heavy apple-like buds, 
that elongate as they increase in size, till some 
morning the thick calyx breaks and falls, and the 
great scarlet flags of the flower unfold. There 
is a kind of angry brilliance about it, a sombre 
and startling magnificence. Its large petals are 
splashed near the base with broad, irregular spots 
of black-purple, as if they had been struck with a 
brush full of color. The seed-pod, rising fully an 
inch high in the centre, is of a luminous, inde- 
scribable shade of green, and folded over its top, 
a third of its height, is a cap of rich lavender, 
laid down in points evenly about the crown. On 
the centre of this is a little knob of deep purple 
velvet, from which eleven rays of the same color 
curve over the top and into each point of the 
lavender cap. And round this wonderful seed- 
pod, with its wealth of elaborate ornament, is a 
thick girdle of stamens half an inch deep, with 
row upon row and circle within circle of anthers 
covered v^^ith dust of splendid dusky purple, and 



^6 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

held each upon a slender thread of deeper purple 
still. It is simply superb, and when the great 
bush is ablaze with these flowers it is indeed a 
conflagration of color. " The fire-engines always 
turn out when my Orientals blaze up on the hill- 
side," writes a flower-loving friend to me. No 
garden should be without these, for they flourish 
with the least care, are perfectly hardy, and never 
fail to blossom generously. 




AT every plant should select only 
its own colors and forms from the 
great laboratory of Nature has always seemed to 
me a very wonderful thing. Each plant takes 
from its surroundings just those qualities which 
will produce its own especial characteristics and 
no others, never hesitating and never making a 
mistake. For instance, the California Poppies, if 
left to themselves, will take yellow of many re- 
splendent shades for their color, and never vary 
their cool, gray-green, red-tipped foliage; the 
Peacock Poppy will be always scarlet-crimson, 
with a black spot rimmed with white in every 
petal ; the Corn Poppy will be always clear scar- 
let ; the Bride a miracle of lustrous white, and 
so on. Runge, a noted chemist, says: "A plant 
is a great chemist : it distinguishes and separates 
substances more definitely and accurately than 
man can, with all his skill, his intelligence, and 

87 



88 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

his appliances. . . . The little Daisy, which has 
painted its ' wee crimson-tipped flowers,' puts the 
chemist and scientific man to shame, for it has pro- 
duced its leaf and stem and flowers, and has dyed 
these with their bright colors from materials which 
he can never change with all his arts." 

By what power do they know how to select 
each its own hue and shape, when earth and air 
hold all the tints and forms that the Creator has 
invented ? The subtle knowledge of plants, in- 
stinct perhaps would be a better word, is astonish- 
ing. If you dig a hole in the ground and put 
into it a Rosebush, filling one side of the hole 
with rich earth and the other with poor soil, 
every root of that Rosebush will leave the poor 
half to inhabit the rich and nourishing portion. 
That is a matter of course, but the instinct of the 
Rose is something to think about, nevertheless. 

Some one has said, speaking of a tree, " What 
an immense amount of vitally organized material 
has been here gathered together! It is God's 
own architecture ! This mass of vegetable mat- 
ter is only earth and air that have undergone 
transmutation. The material alike of wandering 
zephyrs and rushing storms, of gently descend- 
ing night-dews and angry thunder-showers has 
been /zere, on this spot, metamorphosed." 

And I should add that into this piece of archi- 
tecture God has breathed a vital spark, almost a 
mind, so remarkable is the intelligent action often 
manifested in many plants and trees. 

A famous Frenchman, Camille Flammarion, 
says : " I know a maple-tree which was dying on 
the ruins of an old wall, a few feet from good rich 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 89 

earth (the soil in a ditch), and which in despair 
threw out a venturesome root, reached the cov- 
eted earth, buried itself there, and gained a solid 
footing, so that by degrees, although a motionless 
thing, it changed its place, let its original roots 
die, and lived resuscitated upon the organ that 
had set it free. I have known elms which were 
going to eat up the soil of a fertile field, w^iose 
food had been cut off from them by a wide ditch, 
and who, therefore, determined to make their 
uncut roots pass under the ditch. They suc- 
ceeded, and returned to their regular food, much 
to the cultivator's astonishment. I know an 
heroic Jasmine which went eight times through a 
board which kept the light away from it, and 
which a teasing observer would put back in the 
shadCj hoping so to wear out the flower's energy, 
but he did not succeed." 

This happened in France, but here in New 
England I myself know of a great Wistaria 
which grew over one side of a fine old house in 
an enchanting garden, and which did something 
quite as wonderful It was a triumph of a vine ! 
The butt or stump, where it emerged from the 
ground, was a foot in diameter, and its branches 
covered one side of the house, a space of thirty 
feet by thirty feet. So large a vine required a 
great deal of water, so it sent its roots down eight 
feet under the foundation of the house, passed 
along under the brick floor of the dairy, a distance 
of fifteen feet, making a solid mat of roots under 
the whole floor, reached the well and went straight 
through the cracks and crevices of its stone wall 
to the desired moisture. An elm root in the same 



90 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

garden went sixty feet or more under the founda- 
tion of the house to that same well. 

To quote another writer who has carefully ob- 
served these things : " Plants have to the full 
extent of their necessities a power of observation, 
of discrimination in the selection of their food, a 
knowledge of where it is to be found, and the 
power to a considerable extent to obtain it. For 
instance, if some animal's remains are buried in 
the garden, say twenty feet from the grapevine, 
the vine will know it, and the underground part 
of the vine will at once change its course and 
make a direct march for this new storehouse of 
food, and upon reaching it will throw out an in- 
credible number of roots for its consumption. 
... A weeping willow was planted in a dry, 
gravelly soil on the south side of a house, a 
situation in every respect unsuited to this tree, 
which delights in a heavy moist soil ; the result 
was a slow, stunted growth. After a few years in 
which it barely lived, it surprised its owner by a 
vigorous growth which was as astonishing as 
pleasing, and the cause was looked for. It was 
found the roots in search of food had traveled 
under the house a distance of some thirty feet to 
the well, where they took a downward course till 
they reached the water that furnished the mois- 
ture which is essential to the growth of this tree. 

" The movements of the squash vine when 
pressed by hunger or thirst are truly wonderful. 
During a severe drought if you place a basin of 
water at night, say two feet to the left or the 
right of a strong vine, in the morning it will be 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



91 



found bathino: in the basin ! Is not this an indi- 



'fc> 



cation of thought in the vine? Does it not indi- 
cate a knowledge in the vine analogous to human 
understanding? . . . There must be some agent 
employed to bring the vine to the fountain. . . . 

" The more we study plant life the more we be- 
come convinced that life is a unit, varying in form 
only, not in principle. Everything capable of re- 
production, growth, and development is governed 
by the same law, and each is but a part of the unit 
we term life." 

Again to quote the famous Frenchman : " When 
I breathe the perfume of a Rose," he says, " when 
I admire the beauty of form, the grace of this 
flower in its freshly opening bloom, what strikes 
me most is the work of that hidden, unknown, 
mysterious force which rules over the plant's life 
and can direct it in the maintenance of its exist- 
ence, which chooses the proper molecules of air, 
water, and earth for its nourishment, and which 
knows, above all, how to assimilate these molecules 
and group them so delicately as to form this 
graceful stem, these dainty green leaves, these 
soft pink petals, these exquisite tints and delicious 
frao^rance. . . . 

" This mysterious force is the animating princi- 
ple of the plant. Put a Lily seed, an acorn, a grain 
of wheat, and a peach-stone side by side in the 
ground, each germ will build up its own organism 
and no other. . . . 

" A plant breathes, drinks, eats, selects, refuses, 
seeks, works, lives, acts, according to its instincts. 
One does like a charm, another pines, a third is 



92 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



nervous and agitated. The Sensitive Plant shivers 
and droops its leaves at the slightest touch." 

Climbing plants show often a surprising degree 
of intelligence, reaching out for support as if they 
had eyes to see. I have known a vine whose head 
was aimlessly waving in the wind, with nothing 
near it to which it might cling, turn deliberately 
round in an opposite direction to that in which it 
had been growing and seize a line I had stretched 
for it to grasp, without any help outside itself, and 
within the space of an hour's time. By manifold 
ways they cling and climb, many by winding their 
stems round and round strings or sticks or wires, 
or whatever is given them, as do the Morning- 
glories, Hop, Honeysuckle, Wistarias, and many 
others ; but Sweet Peas, Cobcea, and so forth, put 
out a delicate tendril at the end of each leaf, or 
rather group of leaves. Nasturtiums, Clematis, 
and others take a turn with their leaf-stems round 
anything that comes in their way, and so lift and 
hold themselves securely, and the Echinocystus or 
Wild Cucumber has a system of tendrils strong 
as iron and elastic as India-rubber. It is most in- 
teresting to observe them all and ponder on their 
different charming ways and habits, to help them 
if they need it, and to sympathize with all their 
experiences. As I work among my flowers, I 
find myself talking to them, reasoning and remon- 
strating with them, and adoring them as if they 
were human beings. Much laughter I provoke 
among my friends by so doing, but that is of no 
consequence. We are on such good terms, my 
flowers and I ! 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 93 

Altogether lovely they are out of doors, but 
I plant and tend them always with the thought 
of the joy they will be within the house also. I 
know well what Emerson means when he asks, 

" Hast thou named all the birds without a gun ? 
Loved the wood Rose and left it on its stalk ? " 

and if I gather this or any other wild-flower I do 
it with such reverent love that even he would be 
satisfied. No one knows better and deplores 
more deeply than I the wholesale destruction, 
wanton and cruel, which goes on among our wild- 
flowers every year; but to bring a few indoors for 
purposes of study and fuller appreciation is an- 
other and a desirable thing. For the wild Rose 
is but partially learned when one pauses a mo- 
ment in passing to admire the sweet surprise of 
its beauty as it suddenly smiles up from the road- 
side. It cannot be learned in a single glance, 
nor, indeed, in many glances : it must be carefully 
considered and lovingly meditated upon before 
it yields all the marvel of its delicate glory to 
your intelligence. " Consider the Lilies," said the 
Master. Truly, there is no more prayerful busi- 
ness than this " consideration " of all the flowers 
that grow. 

And in the garden they are planted especially 
to feast the souls that hunger for beauty, and 
within doors as well as without they " delight the 
spirit of man." Opening out on the long piazza 
over the flower beds, and extending almost its 
whole length, runs the large, light, airy room 
where a group of happy people gather to pass the 



94 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

swiftly flying summers here at the Isles of Shoals. 
This room is made first for music ; on the polished 
floor is no carpet to muffle sound, only a few rugs 
here and there, like patches of warm green moss 
on the pine-needle color given by the polish to 
the natural hue of the wood. There are no heavy 
draperies to muffle the windows, nothing to ab- 
sorb the sound. The piano stands midway at 
one side ; there are couches, sofas with pillows 
of many shades of dull, rich color, but mostly of 
warm shades of green. There are low bookcases 
round the walls, the books screened by short cur- 
tains of pleasant olive-green ; the high walls to 
the ceiling are covered with pictures, and flowers 
are everywhere. The shelves of the tall mantel 
are splendid with massed Nasturtiums like a blaz- 
ing torch, beginning with the palest yellow, almost 
white, and piled through every deepening shade 
of gold, orange, scarlet, crimson, to the blackest 
red ; all along the tops of the low bookcases burn 
the fires of Marigolds, Coreopsis, large flowers of 
the velvet single Dahlias in yellow, flame, and 
scarlet of many shades, masses of pure gold sum- 
mer Chrysanthemums, and many more, — all here 
and there interspersed with blossoming grasses 
for a touch of ethereal green. On one low book- 
case are Shirley Poppies in a roseate cloud. And 
here let me say that the secret of keeping Poppies 
in the house two whole days without fading is 
this : they must be gathered early, before the dew 
has dried, in the morning. I go forth between 
five and six o'clock to cut them while yet their 
gray-green leaves are hoary with dew, taking a tall 



The /}ltar and Shrine 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 95 

slender pitcher or bottle of water with me into 
the garden, and as I cut each stem dropping the 
flower at once into it, so that the stem is covered 
nearly its whole length with water ; and so on till 
the pitcher is full. Gathered in this way, they 
have no opportunity to lose their freshness, in- 
deed, the exquisite creatures hardly know they 
have been gathered at all. When I have all I 
need, I begin on the left end of this bookcase, 
which most felicitously fronts the light, and into 
the glasses put the radiant blossoms with an 
infinite enjoyment of the work. The glasses 
(thirty-two in all) themselves are beautiful : nearly 
all are white, clear and pure, with a few pale 
green and paler rose and delicate blue, one or two 
of richer pink, all brilliantly clear and filled with 
absolutely colorless water, through which the stems 
show their slender green lengths. Into the 
glasses at this end on the left I put first the daz- 
zling white single Poppy, the Bride, to lead the 
sweet procession, — a marvelous blossom, whose 
pure white is half transparent, with its central 
altar of ineffable green and gold. A few of these 
first, then a dozen or more of delicate tissue-paper- 
like blossoms of snow in still another variety 
(with petals so thin that a bright color behind 
them shows through their filmy texture) ; then the 
double kind called Snowdrift, which being double 
makes a deeper body of whiteness flecked with 
softest shadow. Then I begin with the palest 
rose tints, placing them next, and slightly min- 
gling a few with the last white ones,- — a rose tint 
delicate as the palm of a baby's hand; then the 



96 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

next, with a faint suffusion of a blush, and go on 
to the next shade, still very delicate, not deeper 
than the soft hue on the lips of the great whelk 
shells in southern seas ; then the damask rose 
color and all tints of tender pink, then, the deeper 
tones to clear, rich cherry, and on to glowing 
crimson, through a mass of this to burning 
maroon. 

The flowers are of all heights (the stems of 
different lengths), and, though massed, are in 
broken and irregular ranks, the tallest standing 
a little over two feet high. But there is no crush- 
ing or crowding. Each individual has room to 
display its full perfection. The color gathers, 
softly flushing from the snow white at one end, 
through all rose, pink, cherry, and crimson shades, 
to the note of darkest red ; the long stems of ten- 
der green showing through the clear glass, the 
radiant tempered gold of each flower illuminating 
the whole. Here and there a few leaves, stalks, 
and buds (if I can bring my mind to the cutting 
of these last) are sparingly interspersed at the 
back. The effect of this arrangement is perfectly 
beautiful. It is simply indescribable, and I have 
seen people stand before it mute with delight. It 
is like the rose of dawn. 

To the left of this altar of flowers is a little 
table, upon which a picture stands and leans 
against the wall at the back. In the picture two 
Tea Roses long since faded live yet in their ex- 
quisite hues, never indeed to die. Before this I 
keep always a few of the fairest flowers, and call 
this table the shrine. Sometimes it is a spray of 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 97 

Madonna Lilies in a long white vase of ground 
glass, or beneath the picture in a jar of yellow 
glass floats a saffron-tinted Water Lily, the Chro- 
matella, or a tall sapphire glass holds deep blue 
Larkspurs of the same shade, or in a red Bohe- 
mian glass vase are a few carmine Sweet Peas, 
another harmony of color, or a charming dull red 
Japanese jar holds a few Nasturtiums that exactly 
repeat its hues. The lovely combinations and con- 
trasts of flowers and vases are simply endless. 

On another small table below the "altar" are 
pink Water Lilies in pink glasses and white ones 
in white glasses ; a low basket of amber glass is 
filled with the pale turquoise of Forget-me-nots, 
the glass is iridescent and gleams wdth changing 
reflections, taking tints from every color near it. 
Sweet Peas are everywhere about and fill the air 
with fragrance ; orange and yellow Iceland Pop- 
pies are in tall vases of English glass of light 
green. There is a large, low bowl, celadon-tinted, 
and decorated with the boughs and fruit of the 
Olive on the gray -green background. This is 
filled with magnificent Jacqueminot Roses, so 
large, so deep in color as to fully merit the word. 
Sometimes they are mixed with pink Gabrielle 
de Luizets and old-fashioned Damask Roses, and 
the bowl is set where the light falls just as it 
should to give the splendor of the flowers its full 
effect. In the centre of a round table under one 
of the chandeliers is a flaring Venice glass as pure 
as a drop of dew and of a quaintly lovely shape; 
on the crystal water therein lies a single white 
Water Lily, fragrant snow and gold. By itself is 



98 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

a low vase shaped like a Magnolia flower, with 
petals of light yellow deepening in color at the 
bottom, where its calyx of olive-green leaves clasps 
the flower. This has looking over its edge a few 
pale yellow Nasturtiums of the Asa Gray variety, 
the lightest of all. With these, one or two of a 
richer yellow (Dunnett's Orange), the flowers re- 
peating the tones of the vase, and with them 
harmoniously blending. A large pearly shell of 
the whelk tribe was given me years ago. I did 
not know what to do with it. I do not like flowers 
in shells as a rule, and I think the shells are best 
on the beach where they belong, but I was fond 
of the giver, so I sought some way of utilizing the 
gift. In itself it was beautiful, a mass of glim- 
mering rainbows. I bored three holes in its edge 
and suspended it from one of the severely simple 
chandeliers with almost invisible wires. I keep 
it filled with water and in it arrange sometimes 
clusters of monthly Honeysuckle sparingly ; the 
hues of the flowers and the shell mingle and blend 
divinely. I get the same effect with Hydrangea 
flowers, tints and tones all melt together ; so also 
with the most delicate Sweet Peas, white, rose, and 
lilac; with these I take some lengths of the 
blossoming Wild Cucumber vine with its light 
clusters of white flowers, or the white Clematis, 
the kind called " Traveler's Joy," and weave it 
lightly about the shell, letting it creep over one 
side and, running up the wires, entirely conceal 
them ; then it is like a heavenly apparition afloat 
in mid air. Sometimes the tender mauve and 
soft rose and delicate blues of the exquisite little 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 99 

Rose Campion, or Rose of Heaven, with its grassy- 
foliage, swing in this rainbow shell, making an- 
other harmony of hues. 

Sometimes it is draped with wild Morning- 
glory vines which are gathered with their buds 
at evening; their long wiry stems I coil in the 
water, and arrange the graceful lengths of leaves 
and buds carefully, letting a few droop over the 
edge and twine together beneath the shell, and 
some run up to the chandelier and conceal the 
wires. The long smooth buds, yellow-white like 
ivory, deepen to a touch of bright rose at the tips 
close folded. In the morning all the buds open 
into fair trumpets of sea -shell pink, turning to 
every point of the compass, an exquisite sight to 
see. By changing the water daily these vines 
last a week, fresh buds maturing and blossoming 
every morning. 

Near my own seat in a sofa corner at one of 
the south windows stands yet another small table, 
covered with a snow-white linen cloth embroid- 
ered in silk as white and lustrous as silver. On 
this are gathered every day all the rarest and 
loveliest flowers as they blossom, that I may touch 
them, dwell on them, breathe their delightful fra- 
grance and adore them. Here are kept the dain- 
tiest and most delicate of the vases which may- 
best set off the flowers' loveliness, — the smallest of 
the collection, for the table is onlv laro-e enousfh 
to hold a few. There is one slender small tum- 
bler of colorless glass, from the upper edge of 
which a crimson stain is diffused half way down 
its crystal length. In this I keep one glowing 



100 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

crimson Burgundy Rose, or an opening Jacque- 
minot bud; the effect is as if the color of the 
rose ran down and dyed the glass crimson. It 
is so beautiful an effect one never wearies of it. 
There is a little jar of Venice glass, the kind 
which Browning describes in " The Flight of the 
Duchess," — 

" With long white threads distinct inside, 
Like the lake-flower's fibrous roots that dangle 
Loose such a length and never tangle." 

This is charming with a few rich Pinks of dif- 
ferent shades. Another Venice glass is irregu- 
larly bottle-shaped, bluish white with cool sea- 
green reflections at the bottom, very delicate, like 
an aqua-marine. It is lightly sprinkled with gold 
dust throughout its whole length ; toward the top 
the slender neck takes on a soft touch of pink 
which meets and mingles with the Bon Silene or 
La France Rose I always keep in it. Another 
Venice glass still is a wonder of iridescent blues, 
lavenders, gray, and gold, all through, with a faint 
hint of elusive green. A spray of heaven-blue 
Larkspur dashed with rose is delicious in this 
slender shape, with its marvelous tints melting 
into the blue and pink of the fairy flowers. 

A little glass of crystal girdled with gold holds 
pale blue Forget-me-nots ; sometimes it is rich 
with orange and yellow Erysimum flowers. In 
a tall Venetian vase of amber a Lilium auratum 
is superb. A low jar of opaque rose-pink, lost at 
the bottom in milky whiteness, is refreshing with 
an old-fashioned Damask Rose matching its color 



A Favorite Corner 



AN ISLy\ND GARDEN lor 

exactly. This is also exquisite with one pink 
Water Lily. The pink variety of the Rose Cam- 
pion is enchanting in this low jar. A tall shaft 
of ruby glass is radiant with Poppies of every 
shade of rose and lightest scarlet, with the silvery 
green of a few oats among them. A slender pur- 
ple glass is fine with different shades of purple 
and lilac Sweet Peas, or one or two purple Pop- 
pies, or an Aster or two of just its color, but there 
is one long gold-speckled Bohemian glass of rich 
green which is simply perfect for any flower that 
blows, and perfect under any circumstances. A 
half dozen Iceland Poppies, white, yellow, orange, 
in a little Japanese porcelain bottle, always stand 
on this beautiful table, the few flecks of color on 
the bottle repeating their tints. I never could 
tell half the lovely combinations that glow on this 
table all summer long. 

By the wide western window a large vase of 
clear white glass, nearly three feet high, stands 
full of spears of timothy grass taller than the vase, 
the tallest I can find, springing stately and high, 
their heavy green tops bending the fine strong 
stems just enough for consummate grace. These 
are mixed with lighter branching grasses, and 
down among the grass stalks are thrust the slen- 
der stalks of tall Poppies of every conceivable 
shade of red ; the whole is a great sheaf of splen- 
dor reaching higher than the top of the window. 
This is really imposing ; it takes the eye with de- 
light. 

All summer long within this pleasant room the 
flowers hold carnival in every possible combina- 



I02 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

tion of beauty. All summer long it is kept fresh 
and radiant with their loveliness, — a wonder of 
bloom, color, and fragrance. Year after year a 
long procession of charming people come and go 
within its doors, and the flowers that glow for 
their delight seem to listen with them to the mu- 
sic that stirs each blossom upon its stem. Often 
have I watched the great red Poppies drop their 
fiery petals wavering solemnly to the floor, stricken 
with arrows of melodious sound from the match- 
less violin answering to the touch of a master, or 
to the storm of rich vibrations from the piano. 
What heavenly music has resounded from those 
walls, what mornings and evenings of pleasant- 
ness have flown by in that room ! How many 
people who have been happy there have gone 
out of it and of the world forever ! Yet still the 
summers come, the flowers bloom, are gathered 
and adored, not without wistful thought of the 
eyes that will see them no more. Still in the 
sweet tranquil mornings at the piano one sits 
playing, also with a master's touch, and strains of 
Schubert, Mozart, Schumann, Chopin, Rubin- 
stein, Beethoven, and many others, soothe and 
enchant the air. The wild bird's song that breaks 
from without into the sonata makes no discord. 
Open doors and windows lead out on the vine- 
wreathed veranda, with the garden beyond steeped 
in sunshine, a sea of exquisite color swaying in 
the light air. Poppies blowing scarlet in the 
wind, or delicately flushing in softest rose or 
clearest red, or shining white where the Bride 
stands tall and fair, like a queen among them all. 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



103 



A thousand varied hues amid the play of flutter- 
ing leaves : Marigolds ablaze in vivid flame-; pur- 
ple Pansies, — a myriad flowers, white, pink, blue, 
carmine, lavender, in waves of sweet color and 
perfume to the garden fence, where stand the 
sentinel Sunflowers and Hollyhocks, gorgeously 
arrayed and bending gently to the breeze ; Sun- 
flowers with broad faces that seem to reflect the 
glory of the day; the Hollyhocks, tall spikes of 
pale and deep pink, white, scarlet, yellow, maroon, 
and many hues. Over the sweet sea of flowers 
the butterflies go wavering on airy wings of white 
and gold, the bees hum in the Hollyhocks, and 
the humming-birds glitter like jewels in the sun ; 
but whether these their winged lovers go or come, 
the flowers do not care, they live their happy 
lives and rejoice, intent only on fulfilling Heaven's 
will, to grow and to blossom in the utmost per- 
fection possible to them. Climbing the trellis, 
the monthly Honeysuckle holds its clusters high 
against the pure sunlit sky, glowing in beauty 
beyond any words of mine to tell. Charming 
people sit within the pleasant room among its 
flowers, listening to the delicious music ; others 
are grouped without in the sun-flecked shadow of 
the green vines, where the cool air ripples lightly 
in the leaves ; lovely women in colors that seem 
to have copied the flowers in the garden, and all 
steeped in sweet dreams and fugitive fancies as 
delicate as the perfumes that drift in soft waves 
from the blossoms below. Beyond the garden 
the green grassy spaces sloping to the sea are rich 
with blossoming thickets of wild Roses, among 



104 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

the bleached white ledges, blushing fair to see, 
and the ocean beyond shimmers and sparkles 
beneath the touch of the warm south wind. 

Enchanting days, and evenings still more so, if 
that were possible ! With the music still thrill- 
ing within the lighted room where the flowers 
glow under the lamplight, while floods of moon- 
light make more mystic the charmed night with- 
out. The thick curtain of the green vine that 
drapes the piazza is hung over its whole surface 
with the long drooping clusters of its starry flow- 
ers that lose all their sweetness upon the air, 
and show from the garden beneath like an im- 
mense airy veil of delicate white lace in the moon- 
light, — a wonderful white glory. Through the 
windows cut in this living curtain of leaves and 
flowers we look out over the sea beneath the 
moon — is anything more mysteriously beautiful ? 
— on glimmering waves and shadowy sails and 
rocks dim in broken light and shade ; on the 
garden with all its flowers so full of color that 
even in the moonlight their hues are visibly glow- 
ing. The fair creatures stand still, unstirred by 
any wandering airs, the Lilies gleam, and the 
white stars of the Nicotiana, the white Poppies, 
the white Asters that just begin to bloom, and 
the tall milky clusters of the Phlox : nothing dis- 
turbs their slumber save perhaps the wheeling of 
the rosy-winged Sphinx moth that flutters like 
the spirit of the night above them as they dream. 






HE garden suffers from the long 
drought in this last week of July, 
*^y € ^ ■ i^ ' though I water it faithfully. The sun 
'' burns so hot that the earth dries again in an 
hour, after the most thorough drenching I can 
give it. The patient flowers seem to be standing 
in hot ashes, with the air full of fire above them. 
The cool breeze from the sea flutters their droop- 
ing petals, but does not refresh them in the blaz- 
ing noon. Outside the garden on the island 
slopes the baked turf cracks away from the heated 
ledges of rock, and all the pretty growths of Sor- 
rel and Eyebright, Grasses and Crowfoot, Poten- 
tilla and Lion's-tongue, are crisp and dead. All 
things begin again to pine and suffer for the 
healing touch of the rain. 

Toward noon on this last day of the month the 
air darkens, and around the circle of the horizon 
the latent thunder mutters low. Light puffs of 
wind eddy round the garden, and whirl aloft the 
weary Poppy petals high in air, till they wheel 
like birds about the chimney-tops. Then all is 
quiet once more. In the rich, hot sky the clouds 

105 



io6 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

pile themselves slowly, superb white heights of 
thunder-heads warmed with a brassy glow that 
deepens to rose in their clefts toward the sun. 
These clouds grow and grow, showing like Alpine 
summits amid the shadowy heaps of looser vapor; 
all the great vault of heaven gathers darkness ; 
soon the cloudy heights, melting, are suffused 
in each other, losing shape and form and color. 
Then over the coast-line the sky turns a hard 
gray-green, against which rises with solemn move- 
ment and awful deliberation an arch of leaden 
vapor spanning the heavens from southwest to 
northeast, livid, threatening, its outer edges 
shaped like the curved rim of a mushroom, 
gathering swiftness as it rises, while the water 
beneath is black as hate, and the thunder rolls 
peal upon peal, as faster and faster the wild arch 
moves upward into tremendous heights above our 
heads. The whole sky is dark with threatening 
purple. Death and destruction seem ready to 
emerge from beneath that flying arch of which 
the livid fringes stream like gray flame as the 
wind rends its fierce and awful edge. Under it 
afar on the black level water a single sail gleams 
chalk-white in the gloom, a sail that even as we 
look .is furled away from our sight, that the frail 
craft which bears it may ride out the gale under 
bare poles, or drive before it to some haven of 
safety. Earth seems to hold her breath before 
the expected fury. Lightning scores the sky from 
zenith to horizon, and across from north to south 
" a fierce, vindictive scribble of fire " writes its 
blinding way, and the awesome silence is broken 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 107 

by the cracking thunder that follows every flash. 
A moment more, and a few drops like bullets 
strike us ; then the torn arch flies over in tat- 
tered rags, a monstrous apparition lost in dark- 
ness; then the wind tears the black sea into white 
rage and roars and screams and shouts with tri- 
umph, — the floods and the hurricane have it all 
their own way. Continually the tempest is shot 
through with the leaping lightning and crashing 
thunder, like steady cannonading, echoing and 
reechoing, roaring through the vast empty spaces 
of the heavens. In pauses of the tumult a strange 
light is fitful over sea and rocks, then the tem- 
pest begins afresh as if it had taken breath and 
gained new strength. One's whole heart rises 
responding to the glory and the beauty of the 
storm, and is grateful for the delicious refresh- 
ment of the rain. Every leaf rejoices in the life- 
giving drops. Through the dense sparkling rain- 
curtain the lightning blazes now in crimson and 
in purple sheets of flame. Oh, but the wind is 
wild ! Spare my treasures, oh, do not slay ut- 
terly my beautiful, beloved flowers ! The tall 
stalks bend and strain, the Larkspurs bow. I 
hold my breath while the danger lasts, thinking 
only of the wind's power to harm the garden ; for 
the leaping lightning and the crashing thunder I 
love, but the gale fills me with dread for my flow- 
ers defenseless. Still down pour the refreshing 
floods ; everything is drenched : where are the 
humming-birds ? The boats toss madly on the 
moorings, the sea breaks wildly on the shore, 
the world is drowned and gone, there is nothing 



io8 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

but tempest and tumult and rush and roar of wind 
and rain. 

The long trailing sprays of the Echinocystus 
vine stretch and strain like pennons flying out in 
the blast, the Wistaria tosses its feathery plumes 
over the arch above the door. Alas, for my bank 
of tall Poppies and blue Cornflowers and yellow 
Chrysanthemums outside ! The Poppies are laid 
low, never to rise again, but the others will gather 
themselves together by and by, and the many- 
colored fires of Nasturtiums will clothe the slope 
with new beauty presently. The storm is sweep- 
ing past, already the rain diminishes, the light- 
ning pales, the thunder retreats till leagues and 
leagues away we hear it " moaning and calling 
out of other lands." The clouds break away and 
show in the west glimpses of pure, melting blue, 
the sun bursts forth, paints a rainbow in the east 
upon the flying fragments of the storm, and pours 
a flood of glory over the drowned earth ; the 
pelted flowers take heart and breathe again, every 
leaf shines, dripping with moisture; the grassy 
slopes laugh in sweet color; the sea calms itself 
to vast tranquillity and answers back the touch 
of the sun with a million glittering smiles. 

Though the outside bank of flowers is wrecked 
and the tall Poppies prone upon the ground, those 
inside the garden are safe because I took the pre- 
caution to run two rows of wire netting up and 
down through the beds for their support. So, 
when the winds are cruelly violent, the tall, brittle 
stalks lean against this light but strong bulwark 
and are unhurt. 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 109 

After the storm, in the clear, beautiful morning, 
before sunrise I went as usual into the garden to 
gather my flowers. To and fro, up and down 
over the ruined bank I passed ; the wind blew 
cool and keen from the west, though the sky was 
smiling. The storm had beaten the flowers flat 
all over the slope; in scarlet and white and blue 
and pink and purple and orange bloom they were 
prostrate everywhere, leaves, stalks, blossoms, and 
all tangled and matted in an inextricable con- 
fusion. Swiftly I made my way through it, find- 
ing a foothold here and there, and stooping for 
every freshly unfolded cup or star or bell whose 
bud the tempest had spared. As I neared the lit- 
tle western gate with my hands full of blossoms to 
enter the garden on my way to the house, I was 
stopped still as a statue before a most pathetic 
sight. There, straight across the way, a tall 
Poppy plant lay prone upon the ground, and 
clinging to the stem of one of its green seed-pods 
sat my precious pet humming-bird, the dearest of 
the flock that haunt the garden, the tamest of 
them all. His eyes were tightly closed, his tiny 
claws clasped the stem automatically, he had no 
feeling, he was rigid with cold. The chill dew 
loaded the gray-green Poppy leaves, the keen 
wind blew sharply over him, — he is dead, I 
thought with a pang, as I shifted my flowers in a 
glowing heap to my left arm, and clasped the 
frozen little body in the palm of my right hand. 
It was difficult to disengage his slender wiry claws 
from their close grip on the chilly stalk, but he 
never moved or showed a sien of life as I took 



no AN ISLAND GARDEN 

him off. I held him most tenderly in my dosed 
hand, very careful not to crush or even press his 
tiny perishing body, and breathed into the shut 
hollow of my palm upon him with a warm and 
loving breath. I was so very busy, there were so 
many things to be done that morning, I could not 
stop to sit down and nurse him back to life. But 
I held him safe, and as I went up and down the 
garden paths gathering the rest of my flowers,. I 
breathed every moment into my hand upon him. 
Ten, fifteen, twenty minutes passed ; he made no 
sign of life. Alas, I thought, he is truly dead ; 
when all at once I felt the least little thrill pass 
through the still, cold form, an answering thrill 
of joy ran through me Ln response, and more 
softly, closely, tenderly yet I sent my warm breath 
to the tiny creature as I still went on with my 
work. In a few minutes more I began to feel 
the smallest fluttering pulse of life throbbing 
faintly within him ; in yet a few moments more 
he stirred and stretched his wings, comforting 
himself in the genial heat. When at last I felt 
him all alive, I took a small shallow basket of 
yellow straw, very small and light, and in it put 
a tuft of soft cotton wool, filled a tiny glass cup 
with sugar and water, honey-thick, placed it in tlie 
basket by the cotton, then gently laid the wee bird 
on the warm fluff. His eyes were still closed, 
but he moved his head slowly from side to side. 
The sun had risen and was pouring floods of light 
and heat into the garden. I carried the basket 
out into the corner where the heavenly blue Lark- 
spurs stood behind the snow-whiteness of the full 



AN ISLAND GARDEN m 

blossoming Lilies, and among the azure spikes I 
hung the pretty cradle where the sunbeams lay 
hottest and brightest on the flowers. The wind, 
grown balmy and mild, rocked the tall flower- 
spikes gently, the basket swayed with them, and 
the heat -was so reviving that the dear little crea- 
ture presently opened his eyes and quietly looked 
about him. At that my heart rejoiced. It was 
delightful to watch his slow return to his old self 
as I still went on with my work, looking continu- 
ally toward him to see how he was getting on„ 
The ardent sunbeams sent fresh life through him ; 
suddenly he rose, an emerald spark, into the air, 
and quivered among the blue flowers, diving deep 
into each winged blossom for his breakfast of 
honey. 

All day and every day he haunts the garden, 
and when tired rests contentedly on the small twig 
of a dry pea-stick near the Larkspurs. The rosy 
Peas blossom about him, the Hollyhock flowers 
unfold in glowing pink with lace-like edges of 
white ; the bees hum there all day in and out of 
the many flowers; the butterflies hover and waver 
and wheel. When one comes too near him, up 
starts my beauty and chases him away on bur- 
nished wings, away beyond the garden's bounds, 
and returns to occupy his perch in triumph, — the 
dry twig he has taken for his home the whole 
sweet summer long. Other humming-birds haunt 
the place, but he belongs there ; they go and come, 
but he keeps to his perch and his Larkspurs faith- 
fully. He is so tame he never stirs from his twig 
for anybody, no matter how near a person may 



112 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

come ; he alights on my arms and hands and hair 
unafraid ; he rifles the flowers I hold, when I am 
gathering them, and I sometimes think he is the 
very most charming thing in the garden. The 
jealous bees and the butterflies follow the flow-- 
ers I carry also, sometimes all the way into the 
house. The other day, as I sat in the piazza 
which the vines shade with their broad green 
leaves and sweet white flowers climbing up to the 
eaves and over the roof, I saw the humming-birds 
hovering over the whole expanse of green, to and 
fro, and discovered that they were picking off and 
devouring the large transparent aphides scattered, 
I am happy to say but sparingly, over its surface, 
every little gnat and midge they snapped up with 
avidity. I had fancied they lived on honey, but 
they appeared to like the insects quite as well. 

In the sweet silence before sunrise, standing in 
the garden I watch the large round shield of the 
full moon slowly fading in the west from copper 
to brass and then to whitest silver, throwing across 
a sea of glass its long, still reflection, while the 
deep, pure sky takes on a rosy warmth of color 
from the approaching sun. Soon an insufferable 
glory burns on the edge of the eastern horizon ; 
up rolls the great round red orb and sets the dew 
twinkling and sparkling in a thousand rainbows, 
sending its first rejoicing rays over the wide face 
of the world. When in these fresh mornino-s I 
go into my garden before any one is awake, I go 
for the time being into perfect happiness. In this 
hour divinely fresh and still, the fair face of every 
flower salutes me with a silent joy that fills me 



Home of the Humming-bird 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 113 

with infinite content ; each gives me its color, 
its grace, its perfume, and enriches me with the 
consummation of its beauty. All the cares, per- 
plexities, and griefs of existence, all the burdens 
of life slijD from my shoulders and leave me 
with the heart of a little child that asks nothing 
beyond its present moment of innocent bliss. 
These myriad beaming faces turned to mine seem 
to look at me with blessing eyes. I feel the per- 
sonality of each flower, and I find myself greeting 
them as if they were human. " Good-morning, 
beloved friends ! Are all things well with you ? 
And are you tranquil and bright } and are you 
happy and beautiful .? " They stand in their peace 
and purity and lift themselves to my adoring gaze 
as if they knew my worship, — so calm, so sweet, 
so delicately radiant, I lose myself in the tran- 
quillity of their happiness. They seem like senti- 
ent beings, as if they knew me and loved me, not 
indeed as I love them, but with almost a reliance 
on my sympathy and care, and a pleasure in my 
delight in them. I please myself with the thought 
that if anything goes wrong with them, if a vine 
or tender stalk droops for lack of support, or if 
some insect is working them woe, or threat of 
harm comes to them from any quarter, they say 
to each other, " Patience ! She will be coming 
soon, she will see our trouble, she will succor us, 
and all will again be well." 

The summer life in the garden of the winged 
things of the air is most charming, — the wonder- 
ful creatures that have escaped, as it were, from 
the earth. The life that crawls and creeps and 



114 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

devours and destroys, in the forms of slug and 
cutworm and all hideous shapes, is utterly forgot- 
ten as we watch these ethereal beings, fluttering, 
quivering, darting, dancing, wavering, wheeling, 
rejoicing aloft in merry flight. The Larkspur 
spikes bend with the weight of the booming bees, 
the whole blossoming space is alive with many- 
colored butterflies like floating flowers, and the 
humming-birds are a perpetual pleasure. They 
are astir even before sunrise, when the air is yet 
chill with the breath of the retreating night, — 
there they are, vibrating with their soft humming 
over the Larkspur blossoms which are themselves 
like exquisite azure birds all poised for flight, 
or diving deep into the fragrant trumpets of the 
Honeysuckle, everywhere flashing in emerald and 
ruby as the sun's first beams strike them, like the 
living jewels they are. Their fearlessness is some- 
thing amazing. I never shall forget the surprise 
of joy that filled me when for the first time one 
alighted on my sleeve and rested, as much at home 
as if I were a stick or a harmless twig ! Sparrows 
and nuthatches had often alighted on my head as 
I stood musing over my flowers, perfectly still, 
but to have this tiny spark of brilliant life come 
to anchor, as it were, on anything so earthly as my 
arm was indeed a nine days' wonder ! Now it has 
grown to be an old story, but it is never any less 
delightful. 

August 1 8th. This morning the garden was so 
dry again when I sought it at sunrise, in spite of 
the heavy dew, that I took the hose and turned 
on the water, showering the whole place most 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 115 

thoroughly. When I had done the drops clung 
thickly to everything, to the sprays of Sweet Peas 
especially, the rough surface of their leaves 
and stalks catching and holding the water more 
tenaciously than the smoother foliage ; they were 
begemmed, as it were, with so many sparkling 
spheres of light. The tamest, dearest humming- 
bird, whose home is in the Larkspurs, was greatly 
excited by this unexpected and refreshing shower, 
and whirred about me, uttering continually his 
one fine, sweet, keen note. When my rain-storm 
ceased he flew to the Sweet Peas close to his 
azure bower, and sitting on a green spray already 
bent with the weight of the clear drops, proceeded 
to take his morning bath with the most cheerful 
enjoyment. He fluttered his tiny wings and 
ducked his head and wagged his tail and drenched 
himself completely ; his feathers were so soaking 
wet that his little body looked no bigger than a 
bumble-bee ; then he flew up and lighted on the 
tallest pea-stick that reached over the fence 
among the Larkspurs : there sitting on his favorite 
twig he rapidly preened his feathers, shook him- 
self, spread his wings and tail and combed them 
with his slender beak and dried them in the 
broad, bright beams that poured across the gar- 
den from the low sun. With claws and beak he 
smoothed and arranged his dainty raiment, per- 
fectly regardless of me, his ardent admirer, stand- 
ing near enough to touch him with my finger. 
Then he fluttered in and out among the flowers, 
dipping into every dewy chalice and feasting on 
his fragrant honey. 



Il6 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

I wonder, as I muse over the charms of these 
most minute of feathered creatures, how it is pos- 
sible for their tiny wings to bear them over the 
miles of restless and perilous brine, to find this 
rock with its nest of flowers ! Do they surmise 
the hospitality that awaits them at the end of 
their long journey as they steer their dangerous 
way across the wastes of the salt sea on those 
small, weak, quivering pinions ? Have they some 
subtle inkling of the tender welcome that awaits 
them here? Do they guess how they will be ad- 
mired and adored ? I have filled a small glass 
mug with sugar and water thick as honey, and 
fastened it in a crotch of the pea-sticks for them 
to feed upon ; the bees throng to it, the ants 
have found it, and I hope the humming-birds will 
feast there too. One morning lately, as I was busy 
in the garden, a little creature brushed by me so 
close I thought it was a bee ; turning to look at 
it, I was sure it was a humming-bird, but such an 
atom ! Its like I had never imagined. I watched 
it, fascinated, as it flew here, there, and everywhere, 
whirring just like a humming-bird, crazy over the 
annual Larkspurs. A greenish golden sheen was 
reflected from the head and back, the very color 
of the little bird, and it had a small, short tail, with 
a band of white round its body, which seemed 
feathered, as also its mottled breast. Its bright 
black eyes were like the bird's, and it hummed 
with its wings in precisely the same way. Its 
beak was short, and as it went from flower to 
flower, probing for hone}^ I was perfectly sure it 
was a new variety of humming-bird, the most 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 117 

minute that was ever created. I watched it with 
breathless interest, completely puzzled by it. Per- 
fectly tame, it flew all about me and investigated 
the flowers in my hand. Suddenly I discovered 
that it had three pairs of legs! No bird, I said, 
ever had more than one, and then I was satisfied 
that it must be the most marvelous moth in the 
world. It was so happy and beautiful, flying 
about so confidingly in the bright sunshine within 
reach of my hand ! But I knew of some one to 
whom it would be a treasure, so I threw a light 
veil over, caught it, and sent it softly to sleep 
forever with some chloroform. It was y^llopos 
Titan, very rare, and found in the tropics. 

The dazzling white Lilies blossoming now, 
bright as silvery snow below the Larkspurs, are 
taller than they by -several feet. I wish I could 
in any words paint the hues of these splendid 
Delphiniums ; such shades of melting blue, some 
light, others dark, some like the summer heaven, 
and dashed across their pale azure wings with de- 
licious rose. Now is the garden at high tide of 
beauty. Sweet Peas are brilliant in all their vivid 
tints ; they are doing bravely, spite of the drought, 
because their roots are so well shaded. They 
bloom so plenteously that they can hardly be 
gathered, though they are cut daily. The Rose 
Campion bed is a lake of delicate colors wath its 
border of scarlet Flax. Poppies of every tint are 
blazing; the Hollyhocks are splendid, with their 
comrades the Sunflowers ; every day the single 
Dahlias surprise me with new and unexpected 
flowers ; the Tea Rose bed is a perpetual delight 



Il8 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

and astonishment ; the purple Zanzibar Lily is 
blossoming in its tub and never is without its 
wonderful cup afloat ; the Lotus sends up strong, 
long-stemmed leaves aloft, and keeps me eagerly 
looking for its promised flower of radiant pink, — 
its leaves are a marvel with their mystic markings 
held so high above the water. The Honeysuckles 
are breathing out all their sweetness on the air ; 
the Pinks are out in spicy bloom ; the Mountain 
Fringe drapes the doorway with cloudy green 
and pale rose-color. Constellations of Marigolds 
and Artemisias and Coreopsis, whole solar sys- 
tems of fiery suns and stars, blossom all over the 
place, and in partly shaded corners large fragrant 
stars of Nicotiana shine also when twilight falls. 
The Japanese Sunflowers make every spot gay 
where they unfold ; they are hardy ; when once 
they fairly get a foothold in the garden, they will 
not be dislodged, and I for one would never wish 
to dislodge them, though they spread and grow 
and multiply rapidly, and take much space if left 
to go on undisturbed. They have an indescriba- 
ble golden atmosphere about them, because, I sup- 
pose, of their cup-like shape ; they never stretch 
their petals out flat like other Sunflowers. They 
have a small brow^n central disk, and their " ray- 
like florets " are of deep yellow, curved more in- 
ward than outward. The Artemisias are in one 
shade of full, rich gold, in shape like a common 
field Daisy ; the Marigolds are in every shade of 
yellow, orange, and flame, effulgent, — some with 
centres of velvet brown, some with peacock green, 
some all gold, with exquisite gradations of color 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 



119 



through all their rays. " Ardent Marigolds ! " 
sang John Keats. Ardent indeed they are, with 
fervors of color that glow like the beams of day. 

The dark crimson Jacqueminot Roses are al- 
most gone, but almost every other flower is at its 
best, the whole garden in blossom at once. Dearly 
I love to sit in the sun upon the doorstep with 
a blossom in my hand and meditate upon its 
details, the lavish elaboration of its loveliness, to 
study every peculiar characteristic of each, and 
wonder and rejoice in its miraculous existence, a 
feast more delicate and satisfying than the honey 
the birds and bees and butterflies gather from its 
heart. Over my head the Coboea vine droops its 
large green and purple bells, with many another 
flower beside. The Trop^olum Lucifer throng- 
ing up the trellis on either hand truly merits the 
name of Light-bearer; its scarlet velvet blooms 
have almost an illuminating quality. I hold a 
flower of the pretty Love-in-a-mist, the quaint 
Nigella, and scan its charming face. It blossoms 
late and long, and is a flower of most distin- 
guished beauty. It is star -shaped, in tints of 
white, blue, and purple, with full rich stamens 
and anthers of warmer red-purple, the petals on 
the back delicately veined in each variety with 
fine lines of faint green. The rich cluster of 
stamens is surrounded at the base by eight smaller 
inner petals in different tints, so wonderful in de- 
tail, so ornate in decoration as to be simply inde- 
scribable. Each large outer petal is curved and 
cup-shaped, yet each has its finishing point which 
makes the blossom starry, and these eight inner 



120 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

petals radiate from the centre within, above the 
larger ones. The foliage whence it gets its old- 
time name, Love-in-a-mist, is like a soft green 
vapor, and in the double varieties, the white es- 
pecially, runs up and mixes itself with the petals. 
The single varieties are much the finest. They 
have a faint perfume of anise, and they are among 
the quaintest and most interesting flowers I know, 
I love to pore over every blossom that unfolds 
in the garden, no matter what it may be, to study 
it and learn it by heart as far as a poor mortal 
may. If one but gazes closely into a tiny flower 
of the pale blue Forget-me-not, what a chapter 
of loveliness is there ! One sees at a glance the 
sweet color of the starry, compact cluster, and 
perhaps will notice that the delicate buds in their 
cherishing calyx are several shades of rose and 
lilac before they unclose, but unless one studies 
it closely, how shall one know that in most cases 
the himmel-blau petals are distinctly heart-shaped, 
that round its golden centre it wears a necklace 
of pearls, or so they seem, till on looking closer 
one discovers that the effect is made by the 
fluting of the whitened folds of each petal at the 
base ; it looks precisely as if it wore a string of 
polished beads. The tiny spot of darkness within 
its inmost yellow ring holds five stamens, with 
dusty anthers of paler yellow (also heart-shaped 
when the flower first unfolds) in a close circle 
round the pistil of pale green. Unless the eyes 
are young and keen a microscope only will tell 
this ; but it is one of the wisest things in the 
world to carry in one's pocket a little magnifying 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 121 

glass, for this opens so many unknown gates into 
the wonders and splendors of Creation. There 
is such wealth of ornament, such marvelous sub- 
tile thought spent on the smallest blossom ! The 
" sweet and cunning hand of Nature " is so lavish 
of its work, and it is all so happy, the joy is so 
inexhaustible, the refreshment to the human soul 
so heavenly ! 

The fragrant fringes of the Mignonette, how 
surprising and curiously beautiful they are under 
the little pocket microscope! What elaboration 
of detail, what tempered harmonies of color, what 
marvels of construction ! I reach my hand for a 
blossom of Coreopsis Coronata some one has let 
fall on the step, — what a refulgent flower! There 
is something Spanish about its aspect always to 
me. There are eight yellow velvet petals deeply 
toothed at the edges, and rich embroideries in 
red about the warmer yellow of the centre. Gor- 
geous it is, and so is its relative. Coreopsis Drum- 
mondii, and both have a double row of sepals, the 
row nearest the corolla brown and thin and light, 
the outer one much coarser and bright green. 
The centre of the Drummondii is more like the 
wild Rudbeckia, with markings not so ornate as 
the Coronata, but in a mass, and of a brighter, 
clearer red. All this family of flowers, Lanceo- 
lata, Golden Banner, the deep scarlet and maroon 
varieties, are superb and most decorative. 

It is a great temptation to linger over the love- 
liness of every flower that unfolds, but I spare 
my patient readers, and leave them to pursue 
these fascinating researches for themselves. 



122 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

I have had reward enough for all my care of 
the Water Lilies (even though they had put forth 
only leaves, but they have blossomed well) in the 
delight of the birds over the tubs of clear water 
on which the mottled leaves are floating. So 
many charming creatures pause at them to drink, 
and the song-sparrows bathe there daily. En- 
chanting it is to watch their pretty ways as they 
hop from the tub's edge upon a Lily-pad which 
yields beneath their weight and lets them gently 
down, but out of this they always flit and take 
their own way about it, dipping and splashing 
bravely till they are thoroughly drenched, then 
preening and drying themselves as they sit upon 
the brim, and singing their song of sweet content 
when all is done. 

September 23d. Now are the crickets loud in 
the grass and the Hawkweed waves in pale yellow 
all over the island, the autumn Dandelion, starry 
on its long and slender stem. But still the gar- 
den glows, and still autumn 

" Sets budding more 
And still more later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease, 
For summer has o'er brimmed their clammy cells." 

Where the Hollyhocks earliest to blossom stand 
bereft of all save their thick-growing, full, round 
seed vessels, the late Morning-glories have 
wreathed and twined themselves and hung the 
stems with white and rose and heaven-blue bells, 
and the later blooming stalks are rich with fresh 
flowers. Still the Sweet Peas blossom as if their 



AN ISLAND GARDEN 123 

thick ranks were ready to fly away with myriad 
wings of delicious pink, blue, purple, red, and 
white. Poppies yet bloom, Rose Campions at 
their brightest, hemmed in with the Scarlet Flax, 
and the stars and suns of Marigolds blaze with a 
matchless glory. Single Dahlias are sumptuous 
in every color, and in their prime. One Coreopsis 
Golden Banner is a sight to see, like a great gold 
mountain heaped in the middle of the garden. 
Many kinds of Helianthus make splendid the lit- 
tle inclosure ; Love-in-a-mist puts out flower after 
flower of mystic charm ; the Asters bloom in 
profusion of exquisite colors, — the Comet variety, 
which I think is most lovely of all. The white 
Stocks are dazzling in their purity, and so fra- 
grant ! Nasturtiums run riot, of course, and light 
up every corner ; the Phloxes glow ; the Mourn- 
ing Brides are fine in their sumptuous black- red 
velvet ; Verbenas are brilliant ; Tea Roses blos- 
soming yet ; the Giant Spider flower, Cloeme 
purigens, rises all over the garden in rosy purple 
clouds. Mignonette is lavish of rich spikes of 
bloom, and the Pansies never so splendid; im- 
mense smooth, perfect flowers of every color, they 
never put forth such in the summer heats. Pico- 
tee pinks are bright and sweet, but the poor little 
Margarets suffered too much with the venomous 
carnation worm, spite of my daily care, and are 
only just now sending up their buds. I shall take 
them up and keep them safe in the house over 
the winter. In a corner the deep blue Plum- 
bago Lady Larpent blooms finely, the Foxgloves 
are strong and tall, though they will not blossom 



124 ^N ISLAND GARDEN 

till another year; but the whole garden is a mass 
of bloom and fragance, still haunted by birds, 
bees, butterflies, and dragonflies ; the humming- 
birds are gone, I know not whither, not to return 
this year. The withering vines are alive with 
many little creepers and warblers and flycatchers ; 
indeed, the island is full of distinguished bird- 
strangers on their way south. Scores of golden 
woodpeckers, or flickers, or yellow-hammers (they 
have dozens of striking names) are here, and just 
now two great ospreys perch on the vane above 
the highest ridge-pole, and soar and perch again, 
uttering strange, harsh cries. This morning a 
large flock of wild geese flew over toward the 
south, so low we could see the colors and the 
markings of their plumage. The familiar curlews 
call sweetly as in spring. Outside the garden 
this tranquil morning the soft green turf that 
slopes smoothly to the sea in front is shaggy with 
the thick dew from which the yet low sun strikes 
a thousand broken rainbows. The clumps of 
wild Roses glow with their red haws in the full 
light; the Elder bushes are laden with clusters of 
purple berries; Goldenrod and wild Asters bloom, 
and a touch of fire begins to light up the Huckle- 
berry bushes, " Autumn laying here and there a 
fiery finger on the leaves." The gray rocks show 
so fair in the changing lights, and all the dear 
island with its sights and sounds is set in the 
pale light summer-blue of a smiling sea as if it 
were June, with hardly a wave to break its happy 
calm. Round the horizon a band of haze, the 
same ashes-of-roses color as that which makes 



Sunset and the Piiiafort 




.j0«mBmamii 




t-**- *SS?!S?5B*Bi»!W& 




AN ISLAND GARDEN 125 

lovely the skies of May, holds the fair world in a 
light embrace for this one day ; a few white clouds 
are losing themselves in the pure blue above ; a 
few sails gleam afar. Though the tide is full, it 
makes no murmur ; I hear only the drowsy bees 
in the Hollyhocks, the young fledgling song- 
sparrows trying their voices, learning the sweet 
song their parents are pouring at intervals on the 
quiet air, and the chirp and twitter of other birds, 
birds of passage, with finch and thrush, nuthatch 
and late robin, the whistle of a whitethroat, the 
clanking jar of the kingfisher that perches on the 
mast of the faithful little tug Pinafore (so many 
years our only link with the mainland in winter), 
as she lies at her wharf in the upper cove, and 
shows his handsome blue and gray plumage and 
white collar glittering in the sun. A fisherman 
draws his nets in a shining white skiff, but he 
makes no sound that I can hear. The season is 
so divinely tranquil and sweet, all things are so 
beautiful in and about the little isle, from the glit- 
tering seal that emerges from the waves to sun 
himself sometimes on the seaweed-covered rocks, 
to the smallest flower that blossoms in my gar- 
den ; from the wonderful jelly-fish that spreads its 
large diaphanous cup, expanding and contracting 
as it swims, and colored like a great melting opal 
in the pale-green, translucent water, to the bright- 
eyed bats that flitter at dusk when the evening 
star is sparkling above the rich red of the sunset 
sky. And that reminds me that all summer a 
white bat has skittered ghostly with its dark com- 
panions, as soon as twilight fell, about the place. 



126 AN ISLAND GARDEN 

Of a white bat never before have I heard, but all 
kinds of strange and remarkable creatures find 
their way here, and I am surprised at nothing. 

Once more the weird laughter of the loons 
comes to my ear, the distance lends it a musical, 
melancholy sound. From a dangerous ledge off 
the lighthouse island floats in on the still air the 
gentle tolling of a warning bell as it swings on its 
rocking buoy ; it might be tolling for the passing 
of summer and sweet weather with that persist- 
ent, pensive chime. 

And so the ripe year wanes. From turfy 
slopes afar the breeze brings delicious, pungent, 
spicy odors from the wild Everlasting flowers, and 
the mushrooms are pearly in the grass. I gather 
the seed-pods in the garden beds, sharing their 
bounty with the birds I love so well, for there are 
enough and to spare for us all. Soon will set 
in the fitful weather, with fierce gales and sullen 
skies and frosty air, and it will be time to tuck up 
safely my Roses and Lilies and the rest for their 
long winter sleep beneath the snow, where I never 
forget them, but ever dreami of their wakening 
in happy summers yet to be. 



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